Travel_ Subsistence _ Expenses Guidance Notes

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               Updated March 2010
                                                            Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

The University’s Financial Regulations, together with University Policy UP7, provide general
guidance about the types of expenses that are regarded as appropriate for reimbursement
from University administered funds. The following notes are designed to give further
guidance about what is and what is not appropriate, and to provide more detailed guidance,
including some specific examples.

The prime reason for the rules is to protect the University from illegitimate expenditure, and to
ensure that monies are used appropriately and effectively. It is important to note that the
rules apply to all funds administered by the University, including Departmental funds as well
funds secured through research and other grants and contracts. Only where such funds are
subject to more stringent rules imposed by external bodies will any other rules be considered
to override those of the University.

The University has obtained a dispensation from HM Customs and Revenue (HMRC) for
certain expense payments, such that they are not counted as taxable on the claimant. Having
rules and policies relating to reimbursement of expenses means that the University is able to
support this dispensation and is able to justify that it is unnecessary for an individual to
include certain of these expenses in a tax return. Details of what is covered by HMRC’s
dispensation can be found in Appendix V to the University’s Financial Regulations. Generally
travel and other expenses incurred as a direct result of University business are covered by
the dispensation.

The statutory provisions do not cover journeys from home to work at any time, whether
undertaken within University business hours, at night, or at weekends: these expenses are
taxable and are paid to the employee through the payroll.

It is usual to make payments in Sterling. However, payments in a foreign currency are also
possible. The University has Sterling, US Dollar and Euro bank accounts, and uses various
methods to make payment, including BACS, cheques, bank drafts and electronic transfers of
funds. The University does not allow bank accounts to be opened in the name of or
controlled by an individual, a group or a department. It is therefore extremely important when
entering into negotiations for funding with external organisations that this point is made clear.
Such funds are kept separate in the University’s financial system by allocating a unique
project code.

The University will reimburse staff for reasonable expenditure necessarily incurred in the
course of the University’s business. Members of staff should avoid incurring large costs on
behalf of the University. The University has agreed prices and rates with many suppliers for a
variety of goods and services, including travel and accommodation services, and where there
is no such agreement it can enter into negotiations to secure the best deal for the
organisation. However, where it has been necessary for an individual to incur expenditure
personally on behalf of the University, there are defined procedures for reclaiming costs,
including those for travel, subsistence and business entertaining, as well as general

The Head of Department is responsible for ensuring that all expense claims submitted to the
Finance Office for payment adhere to the rules. Equally, it is the responsibility of the claimant
to ensure that claims submitted to the Head of Department adhere to the rules. Where the
Finance Office receives a claim that does not adhere to the rules, it will conduct enquiries in
order to rectify the situation.

The University is fair in its approach to reimbursement of expenses. It pays for all reasonable
expenses that have been incurred as a direct result of the University’s business. There are
various methods of payments, depending on the total amount to be paid, and to ensure that
the individual is not out of pocket for large amounts of money. The rules are such that
requirements are not overly onerous, and do not demand any more information than the
individual would reasonably expect to obtain themselves, even if they were not seeking

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                                                             Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Expense Claims:

Employees necessarily incurring additional expense in the course of their work in respect of
travel, meals or overnight accommodation will be reimbursed approved expenses, subject to
appropriate evidence of expenditure being produced.

The Finance Office treats expense claims made by staff as high priority, separating them from
other requests for payment as they are received into the office. It is clearly in an employee’s
interest to submit a claim for reimbursement of expenses as soon as possible after the
expense was incurred. The University will not normally accept claims for processing that are
over six months after the date that the expense was incurred except where exceptional
circumstances can be justified. Claims that are submitted on-line through web expenses
should have all supporting receipts and documentation attached to the claim form and
receipts should be cross references to line number on the claim form. Claims are checked for
appropriateness of the expense, reasonableness, supporting documentation, and
authorisation. In the event that a receipt cannot be obtained or has been lost the expenditure
will normally be reimbursed provided the claim is for a valid business expense, and a
reasonable explanation is given.

Where it is known prior to an expense being incurred that there will be large expenditure over
an extended period, an advance allowance may be made to an individual. Advances will not
normally be given for amounts less than £100. The most usual reason for an advance is for
expenses to be incurred during a period of travel overseas.

The University also operates a Petty Cash system, for reimbursement of certain expenses
where the total claim is £25 or less. This speeds up reimbursement of small claims. Proper
supporting receipts must accompany the claim, and the same authorisation rules apply as for
other methods of reimbursement. See below for more detailed notes.

Travelling expenses:

The University will pay for travelling expenses of members of staff for journeys made in the
performance of their duties as employees of the University. Normally this should be booked
in advance through the University’s approved travel management company. Where this is not
possible the most economical method of transport should be used, taking into account
efficient working practices. Usually this will be second-class rail or economy class air travel,
although staff should consider different options, for example public transport, private car, or
hire car, depending on the destination, and the numbers of travellers. Travel other than
second class or economy is permissible, with the prior agreement of the Head of Department,
where to do so would be more efficient (e.g. in the case of infirmity) and, in the case of air
travel, where the travel involves more than 10 hours flying time. Justification for travel other
than second-class/economy must always be given. See University Policy UP7 for further

The rules apply to all staff regardless of their status or the source of the funds that are paying
for either the travel costs or the staff salary costs.

The University will not pay for travel from home to an employee’s permanent place of work,
except in certain approved and limited circumstances (e.g. ‘call-outs’ outside normal working
hours), in which case the payment is made through the payroll system and is subject to
deduction of income tax. “Permanent” and “temporary” places of work are defined at
Appendix 1.

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                                                          Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

•   Travel by car:

       o   General: If a member of staff travels on University business to a place other than
           his/her permanent place of work (including a journey to a temporary place of
           work), and the journey begins and/or ends at home, travelling expenses will be
           paid on the basis of the shorter of:
                   i. actual mileage travelled; and
                  ii. mileage that would have been travelled if the journey had
                      commenced/finished at the permanent place of work. Mileage cannot
                      be claimed from the individual’s home to their normal place of work.
                        Professor X, whose place of permanent work is Bath, lives in Saltford
                        and drives from home to Bristol, returning to Bath the same day: the
                        total mileage can be claimed.
                        Professor Y, whose place of permanent work is also Bath, lives in
                        Bradford-on-Avon and drives directly from home to Bristol, returning
                        to Bath the same day: mileage from Bath to Bristol and back can be

       o   Insurance: staff must have adequate insurance, including cover for passengers,
           and goods if applicable. The individual’s policy must specifically include business

       o   Parking fines and other such penalties: these are the responsibility of the
           individual driver, and cannot be reclaimed from University funds.

       o   Mileage Rates: these must fall within HM Revenue and Customs rules. Current
           University rates for a financial year can be found on the Finance Office web page
           at :

•   Carpenter House:

       o   For members of staff whose permanent place of work is either the Claverton
           Down campus or Carpenter House the University will reimburse the public
           transport cost of travel between the two. The University will not reimburse the
           cost of parking fees. If there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. where
           equipment needs to be transported, such that using public transport is not
           practical) this should be discussed and agreed with the Head of Department prior
           to undertaking the travel. The Head of Department must endorse this and sign
           the expense claim form.

       o   It is possible that there will be some employees whose duties and time are split in
           such a way that both Claverton Down and Carpenter House are regarded as
           permanent workplaces. In such cases, the University will not pay for travel to and
           from the employee’s home to either Carpenter House or Claverton Down but will
           pay for travel between the workplaces.

•   Accompanying Persons

       o   Any person travelling who is not directly connected with the University business
           for which the travel is being undertaken should pay for their costs at source.

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                                                             Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Subsistence expenses:

All claims for subsistence must be supported by receipts or vouchers. The general principles
of reasonableness and economy combined with efficient working practices must be applied.
Wherever possible hotels should be booked in advance through the University’s approved
travel management company, please contact Purchasing Services for advice on this if

As from 1st March 2010 the set daily subsistence rates for meals and the overnight personal
allowance will be discontinued. Instead we will reimburse actual expenditure incurred in the
course of university business and it will need to be supported by a valid receipt. Some
discretion will be exercised where receipts get lost and are allowed some tolerance by the
HMRC on the basis that it is not possible to obtain receipts for some items of expenditure, for
example, using an Oyster card when travelling.

Obviously the expenses claimed must be reasonable and comply with the financial
regulations. The benchmark meal rates published by the HMRC that we will use as
guidelines are:

        o   Up to £5.00 for breakfast (if leaving home before 6:00am).
        o   Up to £5.00 for one meal (after travelling/off site for 5 hours).
        o   Up to £10.00 for two meals (if travelling/off site for 10 hours or more).
        o   Up to £15.00 for a late evening meal (finishing after 8:00pm)

Claims outside of these limits will need to be justified before they will be approved for

Miscellaneous and incidental charges on hotel bills will be reimbursed when incurred
necessarily on University business. The following are not business expenditure:

        o   Personal phone calls.
        o   Certain charges made by hotels for the use of facilities such as pay per view
            videos, fitness suites, etc.
        o   Laundry.
        o   Newspapers.
        o   Personal items such as toiletries, etc.

The University will not reimburse other personal costs incurred as a consequence of being
away from home on business, for example the costs of child care.

Foreign Travel:

When making a claim for costs incurred in foreign currency, the exchange rate to use should
be either the rate charged for conversion into the foreign currency, or the rate current at the
time of the expenditure as set up in the University’s finance system. If the former is to be
used then evidence to support this will need to be attached to the expense claim. In the case
of purchase by credit card, the preferred method is to use the rate charged on the credit card
statement, in which case a copy of the statement should be submitted with the claim. (Please
note that it is advisable to obscure the credit card number and other personal details from

It is accepted that the cost of meals may vary from the guidelines above, dependant on the
countries being visited, so it is important that receipts are provided to evidence claims being

As claims for foreign travel will be more complex please ensure that you cross reference the
receipt with the line number on the expense claim form.

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                                                            Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Entertaining expenses:

Entertaining attended by University staff only (i.e. not involving third parties) cannot be
charged to University administered funds, and is not reimbursable. Nor is it acceptable to
charge for part of the cost of entertaining University staff only. This means that the University
will not pay for wine at a function where staff have paid for the food, nor will it pay for
food/drinks purchased from a grocery store or similar, so that the function can be held in an
office. This applies whether on or off-campus, and includes:

        o   Celebratory functions, (e.g. Christmas meals, engagement parties).

        o   Functions for members of staff who are leaving the University (but note that if the
            member of staff is leaving due to retirement, then expenditure of a trivial sum per
            head may be reimbursed. However, the function must be widely available for
            staff to attend).

        o   Sampling proposed venues for future functions designed to entertain third parties.

Where a department arranges an “away-day” or “retreat” to discuss departmental
business/plans, reasonable expenditure for refreshments is allowed. When the claim for
reimbursement, or an invoice from the supplier of the services is sent to the Finance Office, it
must be accompanied by an agenda and a full list of delegates, and, wherever possible, notes
of the meetings or reports about sessions. Similarly, legitimate “working lunches” are
acceptable, provided that claims can be supported by agendas and either meeting notes or
reports from sessions.

Reasonable amounts of expenditure for hospitality and entertaining of third parties may be
charged to University administered funds where necessarily incurred in the course of the
University’s business. Reasonableness must be applied with regard to the numbers of
University staff attending. Purchases of moderate amounts of alcohol will be reimbursed
when part of hospitality to existing or potential business clients. Staff are encouraged to use
University facilities. All claims for reimbursement of such expenses must include a list of
names of those present, and an explanation of the purpose of the entertainment/hospitality.
As with other expenses, receipts must be attached to claims. Reasonable amounts will be
allowed for gratuities; the amount should be included on the receipt.

General Expenses:

The basic rule for expenses to be reimbursable is that the costs must have been necessarily
incurred in the performance of University business. In addition to the items specifically
referred to in the sections about travelling and subsistence expenses, the following do not
constitute business expenditure:
        o   Purchase of cards and/or gifts for members of staff/students, for example if they
            are in hospital, having a baby, getting married, leaving the University (including
            retirement), etc. Other related expenses are also not allowable, e.g. travel and
            parking costs whilst purchasing such gifts.
        o   Purchase of Christmas cards unless they are being sent to business contacts.
        o   Purchase of decorations for offices, including flowers and vases, other
            ornaments, Christmas decorations, and so on.
        o   Purchase of tea coffee and other refreshments for use by staff. Note that this
            type of expense is acceptable where the goods are to be used for business
            entertaining or during genuine business meetings, etc..

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                                                             Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

The following University central services units should always be consulted prior to entering
into commitments with outside suppliers:
        o   Purchasing Services: catalogues available for stationery, diaries & calendars,
            also for various other consumables.
        o   Photographic Unit.
        o   Print Unit: bulk photocopying services available. Only in the event that the Print
            Unit cannot deliver (for reasons of quality, timing or price) should printing be
            taken outside the University.

Petty Cash:
The Finance Office operates an imprest petty cash account for use by the whole of the
University. The maintenance of petty cash floats within departments would not normally be
expected or allowed. However in exceptional circumstances it may be allowed in order to
deal with minor payments or disbursements, subject to the arrangement being reviewed
periodically by the Finance Office and/or the Internal Audit Office. In such cases, the float will
be the responsibility of the member of staff to whom it is entrusted.
Claims for the reimbursement from petty cash are subject to a maximum of £25 per claim. It
is not acceptable to sub-divide a transaction such that a claimant makes more than one claim,
each within the £25 limit. The following types of expenditure are expressly forbidden:
        o   Any claim over £25 unless prior permission is obtained from the Director of

        o   Payment of wages, call-out payments, overtime payments, staff expenses or
            other ad hoc remuneration.

        o   Gifts to members of staff or ex-members of staff.

        o   Gifts, gratuities or donations of any nature to external bodies.

        o   Payments for non-business use of goods/services.

        o   Personal expenditure, loans or advances to employees or students, or for
            cashing personal cheques.

An example of the petty cash claim form is included in appendix 2. Claims for reimbursement
of petty cash, up to a maximum of £25, should be completed by the claimant, authorised by
the appropriate departmental staff (see section about authorisation below), and taken to the
Finance Office for processing by the Payments Section prior to collection of cash from the
Cashier’s Office. The person collecting the cash (normally the claimant) is required to sign
the form to acknowledge collection.

Ownership of goods purchased:
Individual members of staff and students sometimes make purchases of goods on behalf of
the University. At the time of reimbursement it must be made clear that the University then
owns the goods for which the individual is being reimbursed. Some examples are books,
calculators, and so on. Departments should ensure that individuals do not keep such items

All claims for reimbursements of expenses must be supported by original receipts or
vouchers, photocopies will not be accepted.

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                                                           Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Credit card and debit card vouchers or statements are not acceptable forms of support for
expense claims. Therefore claimants are advised that they should always request a proper
receipt or voucher. This is partly to avoid paying expenses where the credit card company or
bank has refunded the original expense, but also because a proper receipt gives details of the
goods/services purchased.
Purchases on behalf of the University must always be made in accordance with the
University’s purchasing policy, a copy of which can be found on the Purchasing Services web
page :
Claims for reimbursement of train journeys, when not purchased from the University’s
approved travel management company, must be supported by both the actual train tickets
(which is proof of receipt of the service) and a valid receipt (proof of payment). Claimants
should therefore endeavour to retain the actual ticket. Note that credit card or debit card
receipts are not acceptable.

Payments in kind:
In some circumstances, where a non-cash payment (payment in kind) has been made, the
PAYE rules deem an employer to have made a payment of income on which PAYE must be
accounted. The PAYE must be remitted to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) whether or
not the employer has recouped that amount from the employee by deduction from cash
wages or otherwise. Strictly speaking the employer should include details of all such
“payments” on the return it sends to HMRC. In reality it may be possible to omit certain low
value non-cash payments (e.g. an invited speaker who is not an employee of the University
and is not being paid a cash payment is given a bottle of wine costing £5). However, it should
not become a regular occurrence. Staff are advised to contact the Finance Office prior to
agreeing to such arrangements.

Authorisation of claims:
Claims should be authorised by the Head of Department, or their delegated authority, and
always by someone more senior than the claimant. Heads of Departments may nominate a
sufficiently senior member of academic staff, probably a professor, to act as their permanent
deputy for the authorisation of financial claims. It is expected that the Head of Department
will authorise financial claims on a day-to-day basis, the deputy signing only when the Head
of Department is not available. Where the Head of Department and the authorised deputy are
to be away at the same time the Head of Department should nominate a temporary deputy
and notify the Finance Office.
The Finance Office keeps records of authorised signatories, together with the types of
vouchers that individuals can sign (travelling & subsistence claims; payment vouchers; petty
cash claims, and other documents such as journals), and their limit of authority. The records
are maintained regularly. However, departments should notify the Finance Office when
changes are made, including information about when the changes come into effect.
Any claim made by a professor who is an employee of the University must be signed by either
the Head of Department or the permanent deputy authorised to sign financial claims. This
applies to any claim or payment relating to a professor where he or she receives direct benefit
from the payment (e.g. subscriptions to scientific or professional bodies).
Claims made by Heads of Departments and Deans of Faculty must be authorised by the
Director of Finance. Again this applies to all claims or payments where the claimant receives
direct benefit.

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                                                            Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Completion of Expense Claim:
Claimants, who are employees of the University, should normally complete a claim on-line
through Agresso Web Expenses. Please refer to the Web Expenses guidance notes for
further instruction on this.
Students and non employees who do not have access to the financial system should
complete the claim form manually. An example of the claim form can be found in appendix 3.
This claim form can also be by employees who do not wish to use the on-line option but it will
take longer to process.
When making a claim by either method it should incorporate as much detail as possible,
including a full explanation of the purpose of the expenditure. The detail required for travel
claims is fairly self-explanatory, but some of the points that are often omitted are:
        o   The purpose of the journey.
        o   Travelling by private car - names of passengers.
        o   The first and last dates of the claim period.
        o   The purpose of entertaining and the names & organisations of those attending.
Claims should be completed carefully to ensure that different types of expenditure are
charged to the appropriate codes. Where restricted funds (research and other grants and
contracts) are concerned, University Policy UP7 gives clear guidance about what is
acceptable. Before coding to a restricted project funds you should always ascertain whether
the charges in question are allowable against that source of funding.
As far as account and product codes are concerned the most appropriate code for the type of
expenditure involved should always be used.

Useful Points of Contact/Information
The Payments Office is located in Wessex House 4.11 and is open Monday to Friday
between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm. The key contacts are:
        o   Patsy Harper, Payments Office Supervisor, ext 6209
        o   Robert Coles, Payments Office Manager, ext 6718

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                                                           Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Appendix 1

   Permanent and Temporary Workplaces

   For simplicity HM Revenue and Customs terminology and definitions have been used:

   Permanent place of work – this is a place at which an employee attends regularly for
   the performance of duties of University employment. Regular attendance is frequent,
   follows a pattern or is the place the employee usually attends for the majority of time for
   which he/she is likely to hold the employment. The proportion of an employee’s time
   spent working at a particular workplace is a factor in determining whether it is a
   permanent workplace but attendance of only one or two days a week may make a
   permanent workplace if done on regular basis and if the visits are for a continuing
   purpose (e.g. lecturing on a course – but see below the other factors that are taken into
   account) .

   Temporary place of work – this is a place to which an employee goes to perform a task
   of limited duration or for a temporary purpose. Any period of continuous work that lasts,
   or is likely to last, more than 24 months is a permanent workplace. Continuous work is a
   period throughout which the duties of the employment are performed to a significant
   extent at that place and this is taken to be the case if the employee spends 40% or more
   of his/her working time at that place.

   It is possible to have more than one permanent workplace during the same period and in
   the same employment. The sort of things that will point to a workplace being a second
   permanent workplace are:

       o     The employee regularly performs a significant part of his/her duties there.
       o     People would expect to be able to contact the employee at the second location.
       o     The employee has a desk, office or support services at the second location.

   If the employee regularly spends 40% of his/her time at the second location it would be
   likely that the second location was a permanent workplace.

   The situation of having two permanent workplaces will be comparatively rare because
   where the purpose of each visit to the second workplace is temporary or each visit is self-
   contained, the second workplace is still regarded as temporary even if visits are regular
   and frequent.

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                                              Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Appendix 2
An example of the petty cash claim form.

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                                            Travel, Subsistence & Expenses Guidance Notes

Appendix 3
An example of the expenses claims form.

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