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New changes and improvements to the Travel and Expenses policy

Mar 15, 2019

A number of changes to the Travel & Expenses policy will come in from 1 November
A number of changes will come in from 6 April this year

Dear colleagues, 

I wrote to you back in October of last year about the key changes and improvements to the Travel and Expenses Policy. In the last few months we can see that those changes were well received, in particular the introduction of the Friends and Family Allowance, with a significant number of claims being made. The payment of this new allowance has reduced University spend on hotel stays and offers more flexibility to staff.

Another key change is due to take place next month, following the responses to the survey and the overwhelming preference for a more standardised rate for UK meals. From 6 April, the individual Meal Allowances and the Refreshments Allowance will be replaced with HM Revenue and Customs’ Benchmark Scale Rates. These payments are based on the time spent travelling, with additional payments for trips which are still ongoing at 8pm. The new legislation removes the requirement for colleagues to save receipts because employers are no longer required to check evidence of the amounts spent. Both the Vice-Chancellor's Executive Team (VCET) and the Finances & Resources Committee of Council have approved these changes.

The rates payable for UK business trips completed on or after 6 April are as follows:

Minimum journey time

Rate

Additional Rate if travel still ongoing at 8pm

Maximum total if travel still ongoing at 8pm

5 hours

£5

£10

£15

10 hours

£10

£10

£20

15 hours (and ongoing at 8pm)

£25

Not applicable

£25

Following the introduction of Benchmark Scale Rates for UK travel, HM Revenue and Customs have also reviewed the rates payable for international travel and introduced Overseas Scale Rates and updated their Worldwide Subsistence document. Whilst there are no significant changes to the individual rates payable, they have now effectively provided a rate for most destinations by removing the ‘Elsewhere’ for each country. This means you will not need receipts for claims made using the published Overseas Scale Rates.

As a result of these key changes, the policy has been updated and whilst is still covers all aspects of business travel, it is a more concise document and can be found here. In addition to the updated policy, we will shortly be updating our series of quick guides to reflect the changes from 6 April. These guides are aimed to help you plan a business trip and submit a claim for expenses and the current versions are available here.

We are continuing work on improving our systems and processes, including enhancing the layout and content of the travel information provided prior to any business trip. We are also in the final stages of building new layouts for the Trip Request and Expense Claim screens, following a recent upgrade to our finance system. All of these changes should make a significant difference and make it much easier for you to plan a trip and make a subsequent claim.

Andrew Crozier, 
Deputy Director of Finance