The FT Non-Executive Director Diploma is a formally accredited, post-graduate qualification for Non-Executive Directors.
Completed over six months, this course will equip you with the core knowledge and confidence to succeed as a Non-Executive Director.
The course covers the legal liabilities and duties of being a non-executive, board structure and the all-important behavioural skills required to make an effective contribution to the board.
Increase your confidence with a greater understanding of the role of a non-executive director.
Acquire a recognised formal qualification to help you secure new roles.
Develop the skills necessary to challenge executives and contribute to an effective board culture
The course is delivered through a combination of tutor-led workshops and online learning. In light of COVID-19, we have adapted our programme so that all workshops are now delivered virtually.
1. The Effective Non-Executive Director
The aim of this module is to help you to develop the skills and competence to operate as an effective non-executive director. This module builds on the knowledge and understanding from the other four modules.
This module places a strong emphasis on the practical application of the skills of effectively carrying out a non-executive role.
Because of the practical nature of this module the assessment will include the assessment of practical skills that are discussed and modelled in the final workshop of the course. The workshop will include a session that focuses on behavioural issues including dealing with boardroom conflict, and how to constructively challenge based on role playing situations in teams.
This module is perhaps the most important single module of the course because it requires you to apply the understanding that you have developed from the other four modules and to implement the practical skills required of a non-executive director.
2. Director’s Duties and Liabilities
The aims of this module are to provide you with a secure knowledge of the most important duties of a director as well as your individual and collective liabilities as Board members. Workshop activities, online tutorial materials, and the end of course assessment are designed to encourage you to engage in a critical review of the role of the non-executive director and the Board so that you are able to make a significant contribution to ensure the highest standards of corporate governance and business ethics.
3. Board Structure and Performance
The aim of this module is to provide you with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the roles, functioning and key aspects of practice of a Board of Directors. This module provides essential background knowledge to prepare you for module 1 – ‘The Effective Non-Executive Director’. Boards of Directors are responsible for making complex decisions and there are a range of complex arrangements for organising the affairs of the Board. The workshops, online materials and assessment are designed to ensure that you develop mastery of the complex arrangements that will involve you as a non-executive director.
4. Risk Management and Internal Control
The aims of this module are to enable you to make an effective contribution in suggesting ways in which companies can manage risks and create internal control procedures to limit exposure to risk. The module will help you to identify different types of risks and methods used to analyse and measure risk. As a result of attending workshops, using online materials, and carrying out the assessment you should be able to recommend suitable internal controls for a company to employ, and be able to identify fraud and illegal acts and the sorts of measures that companies should employ to assess, detect and manage fraud risk.
All businesses operate within an environment of risk. Non-executives who are informed about risk and who understand and can contribute to improving internal control procedures are an invaluable asset to any company.
5. Audit and Financial Reporting
The aims of this module are to enable you to read and interpret financial reports and carry out complex financial calculations. In addition the module provides you with an understanding of the role of the audit committee in a company, types of pension schemes and accounting for pensions and retirement benefits. The module also outlines the importance of non-financial reporting including corporate social responsibility reporting. Each section of this module is supported by multiple choice tests which enable you to demonstrate your understanding of how to read and interpret financial information. The module is assessed by a dedicated audit and financial reporting assessment designed to test your understanding and skills in interpreting financial reports and data related to auditing.
An ability to interpret financial information is essential for anyone seeking to make a contribution to and support the decision making processes of a business. Contributing to discussions about financial information enables non-executives make an informed input to improve the quality of a range of business decisions as well as to protect the interests of stakeholders.
Course members must complete a Learning Log to show they have reflected on, identified and started to address their own particular behaviour skills. In addition to this, course members must submit two short essays, a case study based on a recent annual report of a real company, and pass a three-hour controlled finance assessment.
The Learning Log and the two short essays are to be handed in one month after the second workshop. The case study will be submitted one week before the course member attends the controlled finance assessment at the end of the course.
To ensure that the content of the course is as practical and relevant as possible to the real world of the non-executive director, every module has been reviewed by our faculty members who are highly experienced non-executive directors and chairs.
The five modules are delivered online and are designed to be studied at your own pace. Please note that you must have completed module 1 (The Effective Non-Executive Director) before you attend the two-day workshop. Further reading suggestions at the end of each article point you to items of interest to enable you to read around the topics covered in the course. Regular multiple choice tests help you to check your understanding and progress as you work your way through the modules.
There are two workshops, attendance at which is compulsory, during the course. The first half day workshop provides an introduction to the course and the topics studied. The second two-day workshop concentrates on the all important issue of effective boardroom behaviour, both on an individual basis and providing an understanding of group dynamics.
Sarah Boulton has held a variety of non-executive board roles over the last fourteen years and she also provides governance advice and board support to a range of public, private and not for profit organisations through Healthy Board Services and Capsticks.
Her Board experience to date has included serving as non-executive director, Audit Committee Chair and Chair of five different NHS trusts. These have included local, regional and national roles and include Commissioner, Provider and Regulator responsibilities. In 2011 she became Chair of NHS Midlands and East Cluster which was responsible for health provision for 15 million people in the West and East Midlands and East of England with a budget of £26 billion. Prior to this appointment she was the Chair of the East of England Strategic Health Authority, one of the top performing SHAs in the country. This followed her time as Chair of Bedfordshire PCT which was responsible for improving the health and health services for a local population of 450,000. She has been the Chair of East of England Ambulance Service since 2014 and is also a member of the Octopus Healthcare Advisory Board.
FT Board Director Programme×
FT Board Director Programme
Lesley Stephenson is the Publisher of the Financial Times Board Director Programme and also of the Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma.
She has specialised in corporate governance since publishing the Cadbury Report on behalf of the London Stock Exchange in 1992. Lesley has written for the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), the European Corporate Governance Institute and the ICAEW NED Special Interest Group.
She has been the Publisher of the Club since 2003, she was the driving force behind the development of the FT NED Diploma and continues to oversee it.
She also publishes the leading monthly newsletter on corporate governance, Governance, which has been around for over 20 years covering governance developments and best practice world-wide.
Portfolio Non-Executive Director & ChairmanSee bio×
Portfolio Non-Executive Director & Chairman
Murray launched Cranfield School of Management’s Non-Executive Director Seminar in 1997 and has also delivered NED development programmes for the UK Venture Capital [since 2002] and Eastern European Investment Banking industries [since 2001]. In total over 5000 current and aspiring NED’s have attended his programmes both in the UK and internationally.
Murray likes to practise what he preaches and during his career has held over 25 NED and chairman positions in virtually every type of organisation. He is currently Chairman of Octopus Apollo plc – one of the largest listed VCT’s in the UK and Surface Generation – a fast growing high tech advanced manufacturing company and a NED of James Walker Group – an international engineering group.
Murray is the Course Director for the FT Non-Executive Director Diploma, the FT’s flagship NED Development Programme and the FT’s two day Effective NED programme.