Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 1st April 2008.

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Photo of Don Touhig Don Touhig Labour, Islwyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

(1) who is responsible for making appointments to the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals;

(2) when there was last a vacancy on the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals; who filled the vacancy; and what process was used to assess the suitability of candidates.

Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party

I have been asked to reply.

Members of the Committee serve on an ex officio basis and are therefore automatically succeeded on the Committee by the successor to the official post. Members of the Committee are as follows:

Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service (Chair)

Her Majesty The Queen's Private Secretary

Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister's Office

Defence Services Secretary

Permanent Secretary, Home Office

Permanent Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence

Secretary of the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No9 people think not

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John Cooper
Posted on 2 Apr 2008 4:55 pm (Report this annotation)

'Automatically succeeded' Mr Brown?

Is that democratic? Should not those who are to serve on this Committee be elected by a quorum of cross party politicians to ensure that these people are impartial and answerable to someone.

We are supposed to have one of the oldest democracies in the world, par for the course though Mr Brown in that you have not been elected by the people and the HD Committee appear not to have been elected by anyone, seems like an old pals act to me.

Are you the listening Mr Brown that we were promised from your lips less than a year ago.

Your statement to Don Touhig MP regarding PMQs and the PJM was not answered by you fully in July 2007, as you appeared to confuse an honourable medal with a Veterans Badge

Tony M
Posted on 22 Apr 2008 3:18 pm (Report this annotation)

I have written several letters to the HD Committee on the subject of a National Defence Medal (NDM).
They state:

1. The HD Committee seldom meets. Business is normally transacted by correspondence. It has met on only a very few occasions since the end of the Second World War. The last time it met was on 7 December 2005. Medal matters were discussed.

2. On the matter of the NDM it may have been discussed at the MoD but we have no record of a case being put to the HD Committee. Policy responsibility for the possible introduction of a National Defence Medal rests with the Ministry of Defence.

From Denis Brennan, Ceremonial Secretariat

The MOD have refuted this claim and insist it is for the HD Committee to decide (Mr Coney).

It leaves me with the feeling it is ineffective and out of touch. These types of responses from senior officials paint a picture of chaos. I believe the Committee needs a complete overhaul. It appears not fit for purpose.