Almost half of UK adults think that voluntary sector employees and volunteers do not get sufficient recognition in official honours, according to a survey.
The consultancy nfpSynergy asked a representative sample of 1,000 people "do you think people working in the voluntary sector (charities, community groups etc.) get their fair share of official honours?"
In response, 48 per cent said no, 21 per cent said the right amount and 7 per cent said the sector got more than its fair share. Twenty-four per cent said they did not know.
The online survey, carried out in March and April, also asked respondents how deserving people fulfiling nine different roles were of official honours on a five-point scale between "most deserving" and "not at all deserving".
Forty-seven per cent of respondents said that an unpaid volunteer working for 10 or more years in their community was most deserving, the highest proportion by far. The second-biggest category was a "charitable entrepreneur who has founded a thriving charity", with 18 per cent saying they were most deserving.
Seven per cent said someone who had led a major charity for 10 or more years was most deserving of official honours and 11 per cent said a paid charity worker helping the homeless for 10 or more years was most deserving of a gong.
Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said: "Despite efforts by the powers that be to change both reality and perception, this research shows that half the public still don’t think the official honours system sufficiently recognises those working in the voluntary sector. They think unpaid, oft-unsung heroes are more worthy recipients than either professional charity chiefs or wealthy philanthropists."
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said: "Of the nine independent honours selection committees, the Community, Voluntary, and Local Services Committee has by far the largest allocation of awards available; 46 per cent of the total awards available each honours round.
"The honours system is open to everyone so if anyone knows someone deserving of an honour we encourage them to make a nomination."