Being an Effective Non-Executive Director

"Tony's use of case studies was an excellent way of illustrating theories in a practical way: I learnt more about the importance of risk assurance, of transparency and openness."

Health and Safety Executive

The role of Non-Executive Director (NED) may have been viewed in the past as akin to semi-retirement, but these days the significance of the role has changed. It is a demanding position that is built on extensive past experience and thus requires up-to-date skills in strategic positioning, good governance, risk management and financial literacy. A NED is a member of the board of directors of a company or organisation who does not form part of the employed executive management team and are not employees of the company. 

Non-Executive Directors are expected to scrutinise the work of the Executives, be independent in character and judgement, and not allow relationships or circumstances to affect their decisions. In reality, the practical application of the skills required of a Non-Executive Director can often be challenging and it can be easy for NED’s to fall into the trap of adopting the same mindset as the Executive Directors.

This non-executive director training course gives those new to the role a thorough introduction to the top skills required to be an effective Non-Executive Director, along with how these skills should be applied, challenges that the new NED may face and how certain skills can be developed to enable them to become effective in their role.

The Being an Effective Non-Executive Director course is also suitable for established non-executive directors who would like to strengthen their skills, deliver greater efficiency, help contribute to an effective board and to achieve their organisation's strategic objectives.

Being an Effective Non-Executive Director is an exceptionally popular training course within our Accountability & Governance series led by Tony Foster, Non-Executive Director of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. At Civil Service College, we pride ourselves on our ability to tailor our training courses to each delegate, ensuring that courses are applicable to attendee’s role and organisations so that each delegate can get the most from the training, and our courses and trainers are constantly updated and evaluated to ensure that we are delivering the best service possible.

Key training features:

  • How to research potential new posts to ensure they fit your skills and motivation
  • Necessary and valued skills in public sector bodies
  • Valued Behaviours
  • Behaviours to avoid
  • Enhancing knowledge and performance as a NED

Who is this course for:

This training course is designed for both new Non-Executive Directors and board members who would like an introduction to the duties and responsibilities of their new positions as well as established NEDs who wish to further enhance their skills.

Learning outcomes:

Participants will have the opportunity to learn through the use of case studies what experience and skills are needed to make an effective public sector Non-Executive Director. Participants will also gain an understanding of good and bad behaviours when acting as a NED, which skills are necessary and valued in public sector bodies, as well as an understanding of how to enhance their knowledge and performance as a NED.

Learning resources:

Go above and beyond your training with new collaborative resources from our partnership with Kogan Page, an award-winning independent publisher of business books and content. Additional learning resources include print books, ebooks and online learning courses, which will take you through a journey experience of blended learning. 

SAVE 15% on all Kogan Page books with KPCSC15


The Public Sector: Managing the Unmanageable by Alexander Stevenson
The Public-Private Partnership Handbook by Malcom Morley



Face to Face

Virtual Training
option available


10:00 - 13:00


£595 + VAT


Westminster, London


24 February 2021 Book8

20 July 2021 Book8

5 October 2021 Book8

10 December 2021 Book8

Lead Trainer

Tony Foster

Tony Foster

Tony has extensive experience in numerous top roles, including Director of ICI Chemicals and Polymers Ltd, Chief Executive of ICI Chlorchemicals Business and was the first Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

Read Bio
Tony Foster

Tony Foster

Tony Foster was formerly a Director of ICI Chemicals and Polymers Ltd, Chief Executive of ICI Chlorchemicals Business and a full-time member of the Criminal Cases Review Commission for nearly a decade.

He was a member of the Council of the Competition Commission for over five years and was the first Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency. Tony was a member of the Financial Protection Committee of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a member of the Board of Trustees of Victim Support.

For six years Tony was a lay member of the Discipline Committee of the ICAEW, where he sat with two members of the Institute to decide on allegations of misconduct. He was also the sole lay member of the Financial Protection Committee of the SRA, responsible for ensuring comprehensive professional indemnity insurance was in place for all practicing solicitors and for the rules, operation and funding of a £50m Compensation Fund.

Tony has been an NED at eight different public bodies and a member of the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator. As a non-executive director of Ellis & Everard plc, Tony guided them from a £100m sales, ICI part owned UK distributor, to an independent £800m worldwide leader in chemicals distribution.

Tony is a founding member of Criminal Cases Review Commission, playing a major role in devising and implementing case review processes from its creation in 1997. He has chaired the Audit Committees of the Competition Commission, AHVLA, and Victim Support.


  • BA in Chemistry, St John’s College, Oxford

“I liked the examples; they really helped to illustrate the trainer’s points.”

Cabinet Office

"Great course, expert presentation on the topic. It has made me reflect on what I can bring to my organisation"


"Very well executed session and extremely helpful."

Home Office

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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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