Close Widget

Author: GRC Practice Director, Alex Hollis.

Blog Series Introduction

In this Third Party Risk Management blog series, Alex Hollis will guide you through developing effective information gathering for third parties using five key steps to the formulation of a third party questionnaire. The webinar is available on-demand via BrightTALK here.

There are five key steps to the formulation of a third party questionnaire:

  • Requirements – establishing the needs of the organization both in terms of the risks that need to be managed and the compliance needs from regulation and any stakeholder commitments.
  • Research – obtaining an understanding of the types of information needed to satisfy the requirements and prioritizing the needs among the various types of third parties the organization has.
  • Planning – consideration for the method, structure, and number of assessments (this can also include non-questionnaire approaches such as audits and interviews)
  • Writing questions – Formulating the actual questions themselves and the method of response.
  • Testing – Obtaining validation and identifying any areas of improvement.

In the twelfth installment of the blog series, we will explore the steps that should be taken to test your questionnaire before you run your third-party assessment.


The final stage before running a third party assessment is testing the assessment. Not unlike planning it is not uncommon for organizations to skip this step.

Testing can be run internally with colleagues or with close partners. You can either sit with your tester and go through question by question, or you can have them complete the assessment and then review.

The questions that you should be asking are

  • Comprehension / Interpretation – What does the term X mean to you here?
  • Paraphrasing – Can you repeat this question in your own words?
  • Confidence judgment – Check any questions which are asking for judgment, if there are any estimations this is where they can be tested for accuracy.
  • Recall probe – Check any recalls are accurate.
  • General probe – How did you arrive at that answer? Was it easy or hard? I noticed that you hesitated why was that?


This paper has explored each of the five stages for creating third-party assessment questionnaires. Much of the focus has been around managing assessment fatigue of the respondent, to maintain a high quality of the answers returned.

To view the previous blogs in the series click here.

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