Business Travel Expenses Policy Procedure

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1 : Business Travel Expenses Policy NHS Procedure England: Business Travel and Expenses Policy and Procedure 1

2 DOCUMENT RATIFIED BY: Executive HR Sub Committee DATE ISSUED: October 2012 DATE TO BE REVIEWED: April 2013 Amendment History: Version Date Amendment History July August 2013 Reviewers: This document has been reviewed by: Mileage rates amended; travel and accommodation provider updated Amended London hotel rate; new travel and accommodation provider procedural guidance inserted; updated to reflect new organisational name Name Title / Responsibility Date Version Approvals: Executive HR Sub Committee (EHRSC) on behalf of the Remuneration and Terms of Service Committee (RTSC) and the Partnership Forum have approved this document. NB. The version of the policy posted on the intranet must be a PDF copy of the signed approved version. Document Status: This is a controlled document. Whilst this document may be printed, the electronic version posted on the intranet is the controlled copy. Any printed copies of the document are not controlled. This policy has been devised, for the purposes of the transitional process of until its commencement of full duties on 1 April Any queries regarding the interpretation of these procedures, will be referred for discussion and resolution between the Partnership Forum and the EHRSC, in accordance with Partnership arrangements. 2

3 Contents Section Page 1.0 Introduction Business and Travel Expenses Policy Statement Guiding Principles Roles and Responsibilities Base of work Working time Travel expenses Subsistence expenses Procedure Use of employee s own vehicle Process for monitoring effective implementation Appendices 1 Rail Travel: Exceptions 12 2 Rates of reimbursement as per the NHS Staff Council review of the reimbursement of travel expenses 13 3 Vehicle Duty of Care Checklist 14 4 Equality Impact Assessment Form 15 Business Travel and Expenses 3

4 Policy and Procedure 1. Introduction The purpose of this policy is to set s position and procedures on business travel and associated expenses and to ensure that these expenses are claimed, in a consistent and reasonable manner. Where possible, those on secondment/imas agreements, should continue to book and claim their expenses through their substantive employers. This policy applies to all employees and officers (e.g. non-executive directors) of. Where reference is only given to employees, it is to encompass officers and secondees, where they are unable to book through their own employer. This policy seeks to ensure, that all staff know how to claim reimbursement for expenditure, they have necessarily incurred during the course of their work. It sets out the duty placed upon staff, to ensure any claims they make are accurate, legitimate and where necessary, evidenced. Funding used for expenses claims, comes from the public purse and as such, consideration should be given to the suitability and reasonableness of claims. All claims are subject to the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009, which means claims may be subject to public scrutiny. This policy does not cover expenses incurred due to voluntary employee relocation, or to a change of base due to organisational change. These circumstances are covered in the relocation policy. 2. Business and Travel Expenses Policy Statement The success of, will rely on how well we communicate and conduct our business across England. Time constraints and financial pressures increasingly demand that we meet face to face less often, with technological advances and cultural shifts in working practice, enabling us to communicate efficiently and effectively, without incurring the expense in time and cost of travelling. As understands the impact that travel can have on society and the environment and recognises its role in reducing the environmental impacts of business travel, the organisation does not encourage unnecessary travel, and seeks to reduce travel wherever possible. Through making informed decisions regarding travel at work, employees can also have a positive impact upon their work performance and own health, in addition to reducing the environmental impact of their journeys. 3. Guiding Principles All those responsible for making decisions regarding business trips, should take account of the following principles: 4

5 Consideration will first be given to the need to travel, versus other options such as telephone/conference calls or video-conferencing, whilst ensuring the delivery of s business aims. Every attempt should be made, to find central locations i.e. equidistant for meetings. If central locations are not available for regular meetings, the venues should be varied to even out participants travel arrangements. Staff are encouraged to travel outside of peak times, where possible, to reduce cost. Where meetings are held on Mondays, the start time should be such that an overnight stay on a Sunday is not necessary. If a member of staff is required to travel away from home to a new base more than three times a week, they are encouraged to consider the Relocation Policy. If staff do not wish to relocate, will only commit to reimbursing travel and overnight accommodation for a maximum of two years, up to a maximum of 8000, which is the tax-free allowance in It is expected that travel and expense policy decisions, will be based on cost efficiency and value for money, therefore advance tickets should be purchased where possible. When travelling by public transport, the most economical means of transport must be used, which in all but exceptional cases will not exceed the cost of standard class rail travel, bus travel, or low cost airlines. Where it is deemed to be in the interest of the organisation and where it is the most economical solution for the organisation, may offer a lease car to an employee whom they require to be mobile (see the Lease Car Policy). Employees who choose to use their own car rather than accept the offer of a lease car, will be reimbursed as per the NHS Staff Council review. See Appendix 2 for the rates of reimbursement. Doctors are not covered by Agenda for Change terms and conditions of service and the policy should be read in conjunction with their contracts; as is the case for all employees, who are on non-agenda for Change contracts. 4. Roles and Responsibilities 4.1 All Employees of Employees must carefully consider their travel arrangements and apply this policy when arranging business travel. Employees are expected, wherever possible, to organise their working week to minimise travel time, costs and expenses. Employees must take responsibility for ensuring they make expenses claims within the guidelines of this policy and that, if their travel pattern changes, they review the implications with their manager (for example, what constitutes their base of work). 5

6 4.2 Managers Managers are responsible for reviewing and approving travel arrangements within their areas of responsibility. They should incorporate the principles contained within this policy into their decision-making and business planning. Line managers are responsible for checking, recording and monitoring travel and expense claims to ensure they comply with this policy. Managers should actively encourage the most cost/time effective transport options amongst staff wherever this is possible and lead by example in this regard. 4.3 Human Resources Human Resources will provide advice and guidance relating to the application of this policy. 4.4 Trade Union Representatives Trade Union representatives should be aware of this policy and able to assist members with enquiries in respect of the document. 5. Work Base An employee s normal work base, will be designated upon appointment. The designated work base is the location where normally the employee is required to operate for the majority of their working week. It should be noted however that according to HMRC regulations, there may be more than one location. will not pay for staff to travel to their normal base of work. Employees will be reimbursed for miles travelled in the performance of their duties, which are in excess of the home to agreed work base return journey. The miles eligible for reimbursement are those travelled from the agreed work base and return. Home to work mileage must be deducted from your business mileage. Where an individual is deemed by HMRC rules, to have more than one base location, they may be met with an increased tax liability. In such cases, NHS England will meet the extra tax liability incurred, in order that employees are not at a financial disadvantage or a cost to the employee as a result of working from more than one site. The circumstances under which an employee may be classed by HRMC, as having more than one location will vary on a case by case basis, therefore employees are advised to discuss their situation on a case by case basis with their line manager and Human Resources. 5.1 Excess Travel Excess Travel as defined in paragraph of the Agenda for Change NHS Terms and Conditions Handbook. Change of Base of Work Resulting From Amalgamation of NHS Employers or From Acceptance of Another Post in Consequence of Redundancy. 6

7 Employees who are required to change their base of work as a result of a merger of NHS employers or their acceptance of another post as an alternative to redundancy may be reimbursed their extra daily travelling expenses for a period of 4 years from the date of transfer. The excess shall be calculated on the basis of the bus fares or standard rail travel or if the employee travels by private motor vehicle on the basis of the public mileage rate. Excess travel costs are claimed at the reserve mileage rate of 33 pence per mile, which will be taxable and will usually be discussed and confirmed at the time of appointment. Mileage rates will be reviewed in line with the NHS Staff Council Review. 6. Work Time Normal home to work travel time is not classed as working time and therefore, does not count towards hours worked in a day. Business travel time, in excess of the normal home to work travel time, is designated as working time. An employee s working time should be agreed in advance by the employee s line manager, where they believe they would temporarily or permanently exceed their contractual hours. Where time off in lieu is accrued or overtime payments are approved, these will be paid in accordance with the Agenda for Change terms and conditions of employment. Overnight stays are not counted as working time. 7. Travel Expenses The NHS Staff Council has conducted a review of the reimbursement of travel expenses, in partnership, which will come into effect as part of NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook from 1 July intends to adopt these arrangements in this new policy and procedure, with effect from 1 October Further information is also available at Travel expenses will be paid according to the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook. When claiming for mileage for travelling from home, the reclaimable amount will be the miles travelled less the normal miles travelled to work. The current rates for reimbursement are in Appendix 2; to include motor cycle, pedal cycle and reserve rates. If an employee uses public transport for business purposes, the cost of bus fares and standard rail fares will be reimbursed. 7.1 Passenger Rate In support of our Business Travel and Expenses policy statement, where other employees or officers of are conveyed in the same vehicle on NHS business and their fares would otherwise be payable by, 7

8 the passenger allowance in Appendix 2 will be payable to the vehicle driver, with the exception of lease, pool or hire vehicle users. 7.2 Other Allowances Employees who necessarily incur charges in the performance of their duties, for example, parking, tolls and congestion charges, will be refunded these expenses on production of receipts. In exceptional circumstances and at line manager discretion, it may be acceptable to reimburse in the absence of a receipt. Staff are personally liable for any excess parking charges or fines issued to them and will provide no refunds. Similarly, excess fare charges on any means of public transport are usually the responsibility of the employee and not, unless it can be demonstrated that this was an unavoidable circumstance beyond their control. Public transport should always be the default. However, taxis can be claimed where public transport is not available, not appropriate (for example, making an unavoidable business call, carrying heavy luggage or work equipment), or where personal safety may be an issue (for example, after 9pm). Similarly, where there are several people travelling and the cost of a taxi is likely to be cheaper than the cumulative cost of public transport. 7.3 Rail and Air Travel Tickets should always be procured as economically as possible. It is therefore expected that advance booking and standard class rail travel should usually be booked as default. Tickets should be booked through the NYS Travel Booking System. Should a meeting change, the ticket date and time may be amended for a 10 fee and any uplift in the cost of the ticket (correct as at September 2012; East Coast, National Rail). See section 9. Procedure for how to book both hotel accommodation and rail travel. There may be occasions where first class travel may be deemed more appropriate for an individual s journey. An example of this could be when an individual is required to be working during the journey and the work is of a sensitive nature, or where the exceptions in Appendix 1 are met. Should this be the case, only advance first class tickets may be purchased, and in line with maintaining cost efficiency, the first class ticket must be cheaper than an open standard ticket. Individuals are reminded that, regardless of the standard of travel and means of transport they use, they should adhere to the confidentiality and security processes put in place to protect the equipment and documents they may have with them. 8

9 There may be occasions where an employee would be required to travel abroad for business purposes; in these instances, economy class air travel should usually be booked and all flights should be approved by a National Director (National Directors will require approval from the CEO s office). Air travel would not normally be appropriate for domestic trips, unless it is cheaper than standard open rail ticket. 8. Subsistence Expenses Expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook (section 18 & Annex N). Where practicable, all subsistence expenses must be agreed in advance by the employee s manager. When a member of staff intends staying overnight on business in a hotel, guesthouse or other commercial accommodation, which attracts a cost, prior approval must be sought from their line manager before incurring any actual costs. The hotel allowance limit is usually 100 for hotels booked outside of London and 150 for hotels booked in London. Both limits are inclusive of VAT and any other charges. However, there may be exceptional circumstances that may warrant a higher fee (for example, it is the only available hotel in the area). In these circumstances, authorisation should be sought from the line manager prior to booking. Subsistence expenses will only be reimbursed for the necessary extra cost of meals (up to the maximum allowances) over that which would have been spent at the employee s place of work or, for example, in providing their own packed lunch. As per the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook, alcohol is not claimable. While an employee would be staying at the hotel outside of working hours, they are reminded that they are still a representative of, as has booked the hotel. Inappropriate behaviour, including drunken behaviour, may bring the organisation into disrepute and as such, action may be taken as a result. As outlined in 4.1, it is the personal responsibility of all employees of NHS England to ensure that all claims for subsistence allowances are accurate and legitimate. Where staff are uncertain of their eligibility to claim subsistence allowances, they should check with their line manager before incurring any actual costs. 9. Procedure All bookings for hotel and travel should be completed on the Redfern booking system. Redfern holds the agreed national contract for. Registration to the Redfern trips hotel and travel booking system should be facilitated via finance, who should also be able to advise on appropriate cost centres for hotel and travel booking. 9

10 The Redfern trips online booking system can be accessed via the following link: Instructions for use are contained within the embedded documents below: Redfern Key trips guide to trips Registration Contacts Including Esadding a single user.dand Initial Log In.docx Due to the changing nature of through transition, employees are asked to refer to the intranet for the most up to date expenses claim form and method of payment. Claims should be submitted in a timely manner, within one calendar month of the expenditure being incurred. Expenses submitted more than three months after the expenditure being incurred will not usually be paid, unless there are exceptional circumstances for the delay and a letter from the line manager covers this. Travel and subsistence expense claims will not be accepted without receipts, except in cases where underground and car parking tickets are retained and no receipt is available. This is subject to evidence that the journey was made. 10. Use of Employee s Own Vehicle When employees use their own car for business journeys, have a duty of care to the employee, their passengers and other road users. NHS England, therefore, has to ensure that each employee is legally able to drive and that his or her vehicle is safe and legal to drive. To do this, will complete checks on all employees who use their own car for business use. Business use includes: One-off travel to another site Attending meetings Attending training Regular travel as part of your role To ensure the is doing all it can to ensure employees safety, checks are made to ensure drivers are driving both legally and safely. These checks will consist of: Ensuring the driver has a full UK driving licence (at the point of the first claim) Checking the driver and the vehicle are insured for business use (once per 12 months) 10

11 Checking the vehicle has a valid MOT, where appropriate It is the responsibility of the authorising line manager to ensure all staff comply with these requirements, by completing the vehicle duty of care checklist (Appendix 3). This checklist must be completed and signed by the individual and their manager every 12 months or every 5000 miles; whichever is sooner. A new form should also be completed if an employee changes their car. It is the responsibility of the employee to advise the manager of any such change. 11. Process for Monitoring Effective Implementation Line managers are responsible for checking, monitoring and keeping accurate records of travel and expense claims to ensure they comply with this policy. As well as the protocols that govern how to make travel and accommodation bookings, it is of great importance that accurate and up to date financial records of the bookings are made. A proforma, such as the embedded document, could be used to record the required information: NYS PO recording proforma.xlsx It is the line manager s responsibility to authorise and record all expenses. Finance will receive an Exception Report, via Redfern, highlighting instances where booking/budget procedures have not been followed and these instances will be investigated further. The above spreadsheet would assist in any investigation. 11

12 Appendix 1 Rail Travel: Exceptions Rail Travel Policy All rail travel must be advance standard class or equivalent, unless there is a clear business need to travel first class. Travel by premium class on Eurostar is not permitted. Exceptions If you have a business need to travel first class you will need to demonstrate that you meet at least one of the following criteria: Where there are no standard class facilities to accommodate disabled or other special needs requirements; Where there are good grounds for security concerns eg significant risk of unwarranted attention from the Press or the public; When travelling with a minister who is travelling first class. You are required to be working on work of a sensitive nature during the journey NB: first class travel must be approved by the CEO s office and must be cheaper than the standard open fare. 12

13 Appendix 2 Rates of reimbursement, as per the NHS Staff Council review of the reimbursement of travel expenses, correct as at 1 July 2013 Type of vehicle/allowance Car (all types of fuel) Motorcycle Pedal cycle Passenger allowance Reserve rate Carrying heavy or bulky equipment Annual mileage up to 3,500 miles (standard rate) Annual mileage over 3,500 miles (standard rate) 67 pence per mile 24 pence per mile All eligible miles travelled 33 pence per mile 20 pence per mile 5 pence per mile 33 pence per mile 3 pence per mile 13

14 Appendix 3 Vehicle Duty of Care Checklist This checklist must be completed and signed by the employee and their manager every 12 months or every 5000 miles, whichever is sooner. A new form should also be completed if an employee changes their car. Driver name: Vehicle make, model and engine size: Registration number: Driving licence The name, address and photograph (where applicable) match that of the driver (where a photo card licence is held the paper counterpart must also be checked) Full UK driving licence held with no restrictions? If no, please give details: Copy taken and retained on personal file? Insurance Driver and vehicle covered for business use? Copy taken and retained on personal file? Declaration I can confirm I have checked the documents and vehicle of the above named driver as per above. Signed (Line Manager): Date: I can confirm I have taken out the necessary insurance to cover my vehicle for business use and have obtained a tax disc and where necessary an MOT certificate for my vehicle. I agree that whilst I am using my vehicle for business use I will maintain it to the required standard to ensure the safety of myself and other road users. In the event of any change in my driving licence (i.e. points added/removed, medical problems etc), I will inform as my employer and provide a new copy of my driving licence. Signed (Employee): Date: To be filed, when completed, on the employee s personal file 14 Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N

15 Appendix 4 Equality Impact Initial Screening Form Managers Name: Manager Job Title: Identified Service/Function/Policy/Process/Change: Overall Aims: To set out s position and procedures on business travel and associated expenses; and to ensure that these expenses are claimed in a consistent manner. Screened by: Business Travel and Expenses Policy and Procedure Who does the Service/Function/Policy/Process or Change affect? This Policy applies to all employees and officers. Initial screening carried out: July 2012 Relevance of the new development Degree of Outline the positive or and/or change to each Equality Strand relevance* negative impact Race None 0 Disability None 0 Gender None 0 Age None 0 Sexual Orientation None 0 Religion/Belief None 0 Human Rights None 0 *KEY: What is the degree of relevance either positive or negative on a score of = None 1 = A Little 2 = Some 3 = A Lot Summary of data or evidence available and data identified to gather: There is no evidence or reason to believe that staff of any particular equality strand/protected characteristic are more or less likely to be affected by this policy or more or less favourably treated as a result. Action (please delete as appropriate) The degree of relevance to individual equality strands will not require a full Equality Impact Assessment The degree of relevance to individual equality strands will require a full Equality Impact Assessment prior to and during implementation Signed By: YES NO Date: 15

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