A Matter of Honour Christopher Jewitt 20th February 2017

The Lieutenancy is headed by the Lord-Lieutenant.  One of his or her roles is to vet anyone who has been nom­in­ated for the Honours List.

South Yorkshire is very under-represented on the Honours List com­pared with the London area.

The Honours System ori­gin­ated in Tudor times and the Lord-Lieutenant is the Sovereign’s rep­res­ent­at­ive in the County.

His first duty is to uphold the dig­nity of the Crown.

Since 1921 the Lord-Lieutenant has lost the power to call on all able-bodied men to fight for their coun­try.

Originally all Lord-Lieutenants were ex-military men, but since 1960 non-military men and females can be selec­ted for the post.

The Lord-Lieutenant per­forms cere­mo­nial and social roles on behalf of the Crown.  He is appoin­ted for life or until he is 75 and the post is hon­or­ary and unpaid and he has to provide his own uni­form.

Duties of the Lord-Lieutenant.

  • Arrange visits for the Royal Family and escort Royal vis­it­ors.
  • Represent the Queen and present medals, hon­ours and awards and issue invit­a­tions to Royal garden parties.
  • Assess nom­in­a­tions for Honours, both per­sonal and for Queens Awards.
  • Liaise with local units of mil­it­ary and emer­gency ser­vices.
  • Chair the Magistrates Advisory Committee.

The present Lord-Lieutenant for South Yorkshire is Andrew Coombe.  The Vice Lord-Lieutenant is John Holt and there are more than 30 men and women who are Deputy Lieutenants, one of them being our speaker Christopher Jewitt. The Lieutenant Officer is Mike Smith and the Lieutenant Coordinator is Lorraine Beevers at the Mayor’s Office in Barnsley.

Over the years there have been some ‘scan­dals’ about busi­ness­men being hon­oured so in 1993 John Major intro­duced reforms.  He ended auto­matic award­ing of hon­ours and allowed public nom­in­a­tions.  In 2005 tony Blair’s gov­ern­ment wanted more trans­par­ency and intro­duced inde­pend­ent Chairs and made sure that inde­pend­ent mem­bers of the Honours Committee were in the major­ity.

The Honours Lists.

There are two lists per year — the Birthday List and the New Year List.  Honours are awar­ded to recog­nise achieve­ment and excep­tional ser­vice.

There are sev­eral ele­ments:     the Prime Minister’s List, the Defence Secretary’s List and the Foreign Secretary’s List.  Then there are Expert Committees for Arts, Media, Science and Technology, Sport, Health, Education, Civil Service, State and Parliamentary all making nom­in­a­tions.  The gen­eral public can also make nom­in­a­tions.

The Honours.

  • BEM      awar­ded for com­mit­ment to local char­it­ies or for vol­un­tary or innov­at­ive work.
  • MBE      awar­ded for ser­vice that is out­stand­ing in its field for the regional or county-wide com­munity.
  • CBE       awar­ded for ser­vice that is out­stand­ing in its field for the national com­munity.
  • Knight/Dame    awar­ded for recog­ni­tion by a peer group.
  • Companion of Honour

The Honours that were awar­ded in the 2016 New YearList.

There were 1196 awards of which 329 were BEM, 472 were MBE and 243 were OBE.  Honours awar­ded in South Yorkshire made up only 2% of the U.K. list.  Chris thinks that this area is miss­ing out because we do not nom­in­ate enough people from the County for Honours for whatever reason.  Perhaps we are slightly sus­pi­cious of anyone who lives south of Watford Gap?  It seems that Honours are not dis­trib­uted fairly around the coun­try.

Those who are miss­ing out are:

  • Women
  • The North of England and the Midlands
  • Ethnic minor­it­ies
  • Retail and Service sec­tors   (Bosses of big com­pan­ies get Knighthoods and CBEs but the small busi­ness entre­pren­eurs don’t.)

The public in South Yorkshire should be nom­in­at­ing more can­did­ates for Honours.

You can do so by:

  • going to www.gov.uk/honours
  • being pre­pared to submit at least two inde­pend­ent letter of sup­port
  • being patient — it can take 2 years
  • not using any person or com­pany that says they can increase your chances of suc­cess