Nominations for Honours

Definition

Honorary Freeman - for people of distinction and those who have given eminent service to the City.

Honorary Alderman - for past Councillors who have given eminent service to the Council.

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Procedure

Since 2004 City Councillors, Newcastle residents and organisations based in the City are eligible to make nominations. Each nomination must be seconded by a local resident or organisation. All nominations are assessed by a Members' Panel who then submit recommendations to the City Council via Constitutional Committee.

The nomination process is undertaken in strict confidence. Details are only made public if the Council supports the nomination and the proposed recipient agrees to accept the award.

Section 249 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides that the title of Honorary Alderman can be conferred on 'persons who have, in the opinion of the Council rendered eminent services to the Council as past members of that Council, but who are not then Councillors of the Council'.  The following criteria are used when considering nominations on the basis that these can be applied flexibly to reflect particular circumstances:

  • Length of service should represent a key criterion, awards normally being offered to those who had served at least 4 terms (16 years) or held a senior position within the Council, such as Lord Mayor or Leader.
  • Under normal circumstances, nominations to be submitted within 2 years of the individual giving up public office (no distinction being drawn between those who had resigned and those who had lost their seat).

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Legislation

Power to appoint Honorary Freemen and Honorary Aldermen is contained within Section 249 of the Local Government Act 1972.

The Section provides that the following may be admitted to be Honorary Freemen:

"persons of distinction and persons who have, in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent services to the city."

The title of Honorary Alderman can only be conferred on "persons who have, in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent services to the Council as past members of that Council, but who are not then Councillors of the Council."

In both cases, the resolution has to be passed by at least a 2/3 majority of members present at a specially convened meeting.

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Privileges

The title of Honorary Freeman is purely honorary and recipients do not enjoy the same rights as Hereditary Freemen. Nevertheless, it represents the highest honour the Council can award.

Privileges comprise:

  • The name of the recipient is engraved on the Banqueting Hall wall
  • A formal ceremony is held at which the recipient is presented with a framed scroll
  • The recipient is offered a civic dinner at the Mansion House to mark the occasion

Honorary Aldermen receive the following privileges:

  • A seat in the Council Chamber
  • Use of the Civic Centre car park when undertaking duties as an Honorary Alderman
  • Use of the Members' catering facilities
  • Use of the Members' Services accommodation
  • Use of an ID card, fob and locker key
  • Invitation to major civic ceremonies such as the Lady Mayoress at Home, Remembrance Sunday, church services and exhibitions etc.

Contact: Linda Scott, Head of Democratic Services
Phone: 211 5159
E-mail : linda.scott@newcastle.gov.uk

Page last updated: 
4 February 2014
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