Does your licensee deserve an MBE?
By Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group
11 January 2022
Within the recently published New Year’s Honours List were accolades for a number of people within the pubs and drinks industry, who were recognised for their service to the sector and, frequently, for their support for their local community, especially during the Covid pandemic and resultant lockdowns.
As a lifelong pubgoer and one of the judges for PubAid’s Community Pub Hero Awards last year, I can certainly vouch for the tremendous contribution that pubs across the land make to their local communities. From ‘pivoting’ at the start of Covid to offer essential supplies for local residents, cooking hot meals for the elderly or countering social isolation through online quizzes or chats, licensees and their teams across the country more than stepped up to the mark. And this despite the fact that they frequently faced hardship and uncertainty themselves.
We recognised 10 finalists in the Community Pub Hero Awards, and awarded top honours to two of those finalists, after an incredibly difficult judging of so many worthy entries.
There’s no doubt that some of the pubs on our shortlist would have a strong case for a national honour, as well as others who haven’t reached our radar. Receiving an OBE, MBE or BEM is outstanding recognition for a licensee who has given exceptional support for charity and their local community.
When thinking about whether to nominate a licensee for an honour, remember that the Honours system is designed to recognise really exceptional achievement. Someone who has fundraised for a couple of years would not qualify – whereas someone who has a thirty years track record of exceptional support for charities and their local community should stand a good chance.
There is a process to nominate people for an honour. The Honours and Appointments Secretariat has produced a very good guide on how to nominate someone for an honour.
It is important that the process is confidential, and that nominee doesn’t know that they are being put forward – not least in case the application is unsuccessful.
The crucial steps are to:
Produce really strong evidence summarising what the candidate has done – emphasising how their work has been “over and above the day job”, their commitment and passion, and how they have made a really positive difference. The guidelines give some excellent examples of some of the words and phrases that are most impactful.
Do highlight all the other ways in which the licensee whom you are nominating has contributed to society (eg magistrate, school governor, sport referee, volunteer etc.)
Gather letters of support from people who know the applicant personally. Possible supporters might include regulars in the pub; the Chairman or CEO of the brewery or pub company; charities that have been supported by the pub; the local branch of CAMRA; local community groups and sports teams; local councillors or the constituency MP (and also MSPs in Scotland, AMs in Wales or MLAs in Northern Ireland) etc.
There is no specific number of supporters that is needed. But the more numerous, diverse and influential, the better!
The Honours nomination form is available on line.
We look forward to seeing more of the nation’s wonderful licensees receiving honours in 2022 and beyond. Remember, they have to be in it to win it!