A Seat@theTable, a role on the Board, an advisor to the organisation.  Our team at Anderson Quigley (AQ) have decades of experience and a deep knowledge of making Non-Executive Director (NED) appointments.  Driven by our core business values, we bring our expertise to bear for organisations focused on society and social development, delivering non-executive recruitment in education, healthcare and charities.

Our established networks extend across the public and private sectors and are underpinned by a team of in-house researchers; we can identify and build links with those who will add strength to your Board.

At AQ we understand the importance of balancing the skills and experience you need with finding diverse individuals with the right insights, motivation and values to take your business forward.  The objectivity and experience of the right NED can be a great asset for any organisation.

You can find out more about NED roles and their importance on this website or please contact Helene Usherwood on to discuss further.

The NED role

What is a Non-Executive Director role?

Whether you are working in an Executive role and wish to broaden your career development or are looking to cultivate a portfolio career NED positions can be challenging, exciting and ultimately extremely rewarding.  At its core, the role of a NED is to contribute to the board by providing an independent perspective, oversight and constructive challenge to the executive directors.

Involved in discussing and approving key organisational strategy proposed by the Executive, NEDs will help guarantee a sound strategy for the organisation, understanding all financial and operational risks as well as making sure all measures are taken to mitigate and control those risks. NEDs ensure all regulatory requirements are met and uphold the highest standards of corporate governance.

NEDs won’t be expected to roll their sleeves up and help deliver operational challenges, but they will be expected to ask the right questions of the Executive to safeguard the health and performance of the organisation on behalf of its staff, stakeholders and customers.

With the economic uncertainty, regulatory changes, governance recommendations and increased transparency; greater levels of expectation are being placed on NEDs.  These roles are more visible than ever and require a level of responsibility and time commitment with terms usually lasting between 3-4 years.  Many NEDs will serve more than one term providing they are making an effective contribution to the development of their organisation.

As well as sitting on the main board, individuals will often be asked to sit on a number of sub-committees such as audit or nominations and remunerations.  There is also an expectation that NEDs will act as ambassadors for their organisation, often seen as a channel for communication between those working on the ground and those operating at Executive level as well as developing the right level of relationships with key stakeholders.

Given this level of involvement and time commitment (this varies greatly from one NED role to the next); an interest and connection to the work of the organisation is paramount.  A sense of “giving something back” might also be a key motivator for some, especially when organisations are providing key public sector services close to home.

The NED client

NEDs bring independent perspectives and objectivity to a board; they are valuable roles bringing fresh viewpoints and experiences from outside the sector, and often personal connections.

As well as a raft of professional skills and acumen, appointing the right NED to your board can bring a fresh dynamic and different way of working as well as diversity of thought and experience and a greater representation from minority groups.

SEAT@theTABLE is Anderson Quigley’s dedicated NED practice.  Clients are guaranteed to work with a team who have many years of experience recruiting to NED roles.  If your organisation is looking for a specific skill set or experience from the public, private or voluntary sectors, Anderson Quigley have a wealth of networks on which to draw upon.

We have supported organisations to create greater levels of diversity on their boards, eager to help address the challenge of securing more women as well as greater representation at board level from minority groups; ensuring Boards better reflect the communities that they serve.

We are passionate about our work and will help you devise campaigns that secure the best individuals for the role.  We can advise on the use of creative campaigns as well as utilise our headhunting expertise to target the best individuals for the role.  We are also adept at helping organisations at final panel stage, offering innovative and different solutions to enable your organisation to involve wider internal and stakeholder groups in these important appointments.

The NED candidate

The nature of work is constantly evolving and over the past few years the move towards a portfolio career has become commonplace.  Boards of all businesses, institutions and not for profit organisations need NEDs with varied skill sets and knowledge and experience from a myriad of backgrounds.  Breaking through into the non-executive world and achieving your first post is less challenging than you may think.

If  want to embark on a NED role a good way to start is to seek out a non-remunerated NED role.  Such posts are usually found in public, not-for-profit or third sector organisations such as social landlords, charities and community groups.  Roles like this offer a great way to get a foothold in the non-executive market and to prove you have the skill set to be an active board member.

Many NEDs find that once they have that first important board-level role under their belts, they can access further non-executive opportunities more easily.  But there are always exceptions to the rule and applying for paid non-executive roles shouldn’t be ruled out of any search!

NEDs are usually appointed to roles because they provide specific skills, insights or experiences that are valuable to a Board and the overall organisation.  Whilst technical skills such as finance or HR may be valued, a candidate’s ability to contribute to a much broader organisational agenda is always highly favoured.  The ability to deal with complex information, be objective and independently minded, able to work as part of a team, be prepared to support and challenge others and have high levels of integrity and political awareness are important skills which are highly valued.  However, like any position, a candidate must think carefully and honestly about the value-add they can bring to an organisation and its Board.

NED roles are challenging; they may carry legal responsibilities and require flexibility and a solid time commitment.  Remuneration (if there is any) typically covers all the responsibilities the role requires so it’s important that a candidate has an interest and connection to the organisation and its mission.

SEAT@theTABLE is a dedicated non-executive team at Anderson Quigley who have a track record of helping individuals wishing to make their first steps into a NED role as well as those wishing to broaden an already well-established portfolio.

We offer advice and guidance including:

  • Identifying specific NED roles and/or suitable sectors to focus your search;
  • CV and supporting statements – ensuring your application clearly demonstrates your NED skill set;
  • Highlight your strengths, experiences and knowledge and how this supports your NED application;
  • Provide advice on areas for further development and training to ensure you obtain the right NED role for you;
  • A clear understanding of the NED recruitment process and what to expect; and
  • Helping you to determine how to make the biggest level of impact as an incoming NED.

The DIVERSE board

Diversity in any organisation is integral to its success; different backgrounds, experiences, opinions, skill sets and knowledge.  An organisation’s board is no exception, in fact, a diverse board is even more essential to ensure a depth and breadth of understanding of the challenges it faces and the direction of future strategy it should take.

AQ brings a sound track record in appointing diverse NED candidates, in particular targeting Female and ethnic minority candidates for clients with specific board needs.

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Previous client include: Oxford Brookes University, Solent University, Cardiff Met University, Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Brandon Trust, Dimensions UK, Discovery, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool John Moores University, NCUK, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Wye Valley NHS Trust, Writtle University, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Medco

“We could not recommend Anderson Quigley highly enough. They took great care to get to know us and to understand our specific requirements and worked with us every step of the way, providing luminous insights and an extremely high quality field of candidates that precisely matched what we were looking for”


“Working with Helene and Anderson Quigley was a great asset in my NHS non-exec application.  I found Helene and her team warm, approachable, insightful, and informative.  They were committed to finding the right fit for the position and to supporting me in making my application the best it could be.  I am very grateful to Helene for her feedback and support at every stage of the process, from application to interview.  Working with her made my application stronger and I was more confident in interview due to her questions, challenge and support during our preparation time.”

Non-Executive Director, Wye Valley Trust

Contact us

Please contact:

Helene Usherwood

By phone: +44 (0)20 3457 0948
By email: