A woman and a man having a conversation in a meeting room. They are discussing something on a whiteboard.

These are some sample questions that trustees should regularly ask at board and trustee meetings to help raise important issues.

Charitable and community objectives

  • How are we meeting our charitable or community objectives
  • What difference are we making and how is it being measured?
  • Do our objects meet today’s needs and priorities?

Strategy and governance

  • What is our strategy and when was it last reviewed?
  • Is the strategy relevant to the current external environment?
  • Is it time to review our governance structures and policies?

Business model and contracts

  • What are the main income streams?
  • What are the implications of personal budgets, payment by results and other new contracts and funding streams?
  • Does the income cover the costs of delivery?
  • What opportunities are there for making efficiencies and savings?


  • How is our income compared to budget last year/other similar organisations?
  • What proportion of income is at risk this year/next year?
  • Have there been or expected to be any major changes for our income?
  • Is any income restricted?
  • What is our forecast surplus or deficit for the year?


  • What is our cashflow position?
  • What does the forecast over the next six to 12 months look like?
  • Are we struggling to pay suppliers and contractors?
  • Is PAYE and VAT up to date?
  • Are we satisfied that VAT is correct?
  • What is our liquidity ratio?
  • Are there any outstanding debtors?

Fixed assets and reserves

  • What is our reserves policy and is it relevant to our current needs?
  • Are we in compliance with our reserves policy?
  • Can we see a summary of the movements and balances on restricted funds?
  • What is the split between restricted, designated and unrestricted funds?
  • Are there any major changes to or issues with our fixed assets?

Capital projects

  • What governance and financial monitoring controls are in place?
  • Can we see a regular process report including costs compared to budget?
  • Is the project fully on track or are there delays, overspends or anticipated issues?

Audit and compliance

  • Can you give me an update on progress on the issues set out in the most recent audit management letter?
  • Do we always comply with filing and other compliance, tax and other requirements?
  • Having had the same auditors for 10 years, it seems time to review and tender.


  • What proportion of income are the staff costs?
  • If significantly above or below average, or compared to last year or the budget, then what are the reasons?
  • Do we have the right structure and staffing levels to deliver our services?

Developed by Neal Howard Ltd, Growing Social Enterprises

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