Under-represented groups have been encouraged to nominate people from their communities for top honours to ensure a more diverse list.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours list has 13.3% of recipients from an ethnic minority background, down from a record 15.0% last year, with fewer also from LGBTQ+ communities.
The Cabinet Office has announced a “festival” to promote and explain the honours system to certain communities.
Events to be held from June 14 to 17, will feature a series of expert panels, talks and workshops from a range of high-profile speakers including Spice Girl Mel B.
At a briefing in central London on Tuesday, it was said a “concerted effort” to engage more communities with the honour system has taken place over the past few years.
Dame Barbara Monroe said the diversity of recipients needs “improvement”.
She added: “I would like to see more nominees from minority ethnic communities put forward at the higher levels and the same goes for women, we’ve been working on that.
“But on some committees we still have fewer women at the higher level. So we’re working hard to encourage that.
“And there is some geographical disparity. So for my committee, public service, I’d like to see more from the north west, from Yorkshire, and from the West Midlands.
“So spread the word, we’re going to hold a special honours week where we are going to try and hold lots of events to encourage nominations.
“We can only choose people if they get nominated, diversity really matters to us. I’ve been involved for a number of years now and we’ve been working really, really hard on diversity in all its aspects.”
It was said that the primary issue is not selection but nominations being made, with “far more” men being put forward than women and a disparity in ethnic background.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Anyone can nominate someone for an honour and not enough people are aware of that or how to nominate someone they know who is deserving. This Honours Festival, which is open to everyone, is an opportunity to change that and inspire people to get involved.
“Everybody knows someone who deserves an honour, but unless they are nominated they remain unsung heroes.”