Context Non-executive directors in the South West Region.Objectives To evaluate the effectiveness of a one day training programme for non-executive directors in critically appraising board clinical governance reports.Design The evaluation included delegate perceptions of their skills, knowledge and confidence, as well as the views of their Board chief executive officers (CEOs)/chairs regarding the ability of the non-executive directors to bring these attributes to board meetings, before and after the workshop.Subjects In total, 86 non-executive directors attended the workshops. All eight healthcare communities in the south west were represented and most participants were drawn from primary care,health authorities, and acute and community trusts.Results Results showed that delegates’ knowledge,skills, attitudes and confidence had improved significantlyimmediately after the workshop. In particular,delegates’ knowledge and understanding of the critical appraisal aspects of clinical governance seemed to have been the most affected.The evaluation strategy also tested whether these skills and knowledge were retained after three months. Results showed that the gains made by the workshop had been sustained in all cases. In some areas, such as skills and confidence in their experience as working as non-executive/lay representatives,their ratings of performance had continued to improve beyond the experience ofthe workshop.Findings also showed that CEOs/chairs noticed an increase in delegates’ confidence in carrying out their tasks as non-executive/lay members. Ratings of their contribution to the board meetings improved but not significantly.Conclusions Overall, the workshop was shown to be an effective mechanism for raising the performance of non-executive/lay members in being fit for the role for critically appraising clinical governance reports.