Accountability & Governance for Arm’s Length Bodies

“One of the best courses I have attended in the last twenty years - The day has flown by and I would happily have come back tomorrow!”

Ministry of Defence

This one-day course is designed to give participants the knowledge needed to understand the role of both the board and the Accounting Officer in an Arm’s- Length Body as well as the governance standards that apply to ALB.

The course explains the rationale for arm’s length bodies, latest government policy regarding the relationship between sponsor departments and ALB, and best practice with regard to departmental oversight. The course addresses all of the essential governance requirements for those working in and with ALB.

Accountability & Governance for Arm's Length Bodies is from our signature Accountability & Governance series. At the Civil Service College, we tailor our courses to each participants’s role and organisation, ensuring that each participant gets the most out of the training. Our courses and trainers are continuously updated and evaluated to ensure that we are always delivering the best service possible. 

Key Training Features

Who Can Attend

Learning Outcome

Key Training Features:

  • The rationale for ALBs
  • The ALB landscape with reference to the different types of ALB and the concept of operating at arm’s length
  • The governance oversight role of the sponsoring department (including the concepts of risk-based oversight and proportionate autonomy)
  • Current government policy with regard to partnership relationships and regular reviews of ALB
  • The applicability of Managing Public Money in the ALB context
  • The proper conduct of public business
  • The role of the ALB Accounting Officer and their relationship with the Principal AO
  • The role of the ALB Board and audit and risk assurance committee
  • Current developments in ALB governance

Who Can Attend:

This course is equally suitable for non-executive board members and middle/senior managers in any arm’s length public body (including entities such as public corporations and unclassified public bodies). Whilst the course is not aimed solely at those responsible for departmental sponsorship of ALBs it will provide a very useful introduction/refresher to the oversight responsibilities of the partnership team in the sponsor department.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the different types of ALB and key aspects of the relationship between ALB and their sponsoring departments. The course provides the opportunity to focus on public sector governance and accountability arrangements and how these might differ from a private sector entity as well as a better understanding and appreciation of the governance responsibilities of board members and senior managers (including the Accounting Officer). Attendees will also gain a good insight into the fiduciary duties of public servants as expressed in Managing Public Money and other central government guidance which relates to ALB.



10:00 - 16:00


£650 + VAT


Civil Service College, Westminster, London


Face to Face 23 July 2024 Book

Virtual 6 August 2024 Book

Virtual 3 October 2024 Book3

Face to Face 27 November 2024 Book7

In-House Option

This course is available In-House and can be tailored to meet your individual training requirements.


Lead Trainer

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian has over 10 years of experience in training senior management and board members on accountability, governance and financial management.

Read Bio
Brian Whalley OBE

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian regularly provides induction and board development programmes for non-executive board members of government departments, executive agencies, Non-departmental Public Bodies, NHS bodies and public corporations. He has run programmes for over 100 Non-Departmental Public Bodies, and other Arm's Length Bodies, and is experienced in working in all UK jurisdictions.

Brian has written guidance material on numerous governance topics such as the management of conflicts of interest, as well as a guide to working in central government for newly appointed non-executive board members of government departments.

On an international level, Brian has delivered programmes on accountability, governance and financial management in Macedonia, Abu Dhabi, Russia, Hungary, Poland and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Brian is a qualified management accountant (ACMA), has a teaching qualification, and holds an MA in Management Learning.


‘A Guide to Propriety for RDA Board Members’, Department of Trade and Industry

‘Working in Government: A Guide for Non-executive Board Members of Government Departments’, Cabinet Office


  • Qualified management accountant (ACMA)
  • Holds a teaching qualification
  • MA in Management Learning, University of Lancaster 

In this Series

Public Accountability for New Accounting Officers

"I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot...excellent trainer and he pointed me in the right direction to deal with other challenges which are of importance to my NDPB in our drive to drive safe economic growth."

Health & Safety Executive

"The trainer's knowledge of the subject was second to none, and the use of case studies and videos added to the value of the course a lot. "

Department for Transport

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Civil Service College can deliver In-House training within your organisation that is exactly tailored to meet your individual training requirements.

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