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The FT Non-Executive Director Diploma is a formally accredited, post-graduate level qualification for current and aspiring non-executive directors.
Completed over six months, the course will help you develop the skills required to be a non-executive director.
The course covers the legal liabilities and duties of being a non-executive and the correct structure and operation of the board. You will also learn the all important behavioural skills needed to make an effective contribution to the board.
- Increase your confidence with a greater understanding of the role of a non-executive director
- Improve your personal contribution and effectiveness on the board
- Set yourself apart when looking for your next non-executive director role
Download the brochure to view all of the dates and deadlines for this cohort.
Find out more about the FT Non-Executive Director Diploma here
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. 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.
5. 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.
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 2011 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, and the Case Study will be submitted when 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 also been reviewed by an experienced practitioner. Module reviewers include Norton Rose, major international legal practice; Grant Thornton UK LLP, leading financial and business adviser; organisational change consultancy Crelos, and the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors.
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.
The FT Non-Executive Director Diploma costs £5,450*. This amount includes assessment fees, attendance at the workshops including networking sessions, access to online learning materials and support.
Please note an application fee of £545* is required. This fee is to hold your place on the programme whilst we process your application it does not guarantee your place. This will be deducted from the total balance of £5,450*. The remaining payment of £4,905* is due within 25 days of booking confirmation or the start of the course, whichever is first.
Upon registration, we will send you a formal application, which you will need to complete and submit to us within two weeks of your deposit payment. If your application is unsuccessful for any reason, your application fee will be refunded. If we do not receive your completed application form within the allotted time frame we reserve the right to release your space and refund your application fee. If your application is successful, the amount of the application fee paid will be deducted from the full course fee payable.
* Excludes VAT
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.
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.
FT Non-Executive Directors' Club×
FT Non-Executive Directors' Club
Lesley Stephenson is the Publisher of the Financial Times Non-Executive Directors' Club 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.
Global DirectorSee bio
FT Career Management×
FT Career Management
Steve has 24 years experience in the commercial departments of global news content providers, firstly with The Telegraph Media Group where he ran various vertical sector print and digital publications and latterly with The Financial Times, where he is currently the Global Director of Financial Times Career Management (FTCM). His remit includes the running of exec-appointments.com, the FT Non-Executive Directors' Club and the FT Non-Executive Director Diploma and the Business Education franchise. He has been involved with the FT NED Diploma from conception through to it's current state of being the most recognised, robust and credible formal qualification for independent directors in the world.