Travel and subsistence policy

1. Overview This policy sets out the limits on travel and subsistence (T&S) for staff and ARAC members when travelling on HOS business* and the process to follow when T&S will be incurred. *HOS Business […]

1. Overview

This policy sets out the limits on travel and subsistence (T&S) for staff and ARAC members when travelling on HOS business* and the process to follow when T&S will be incurred.

*HOS Business – this includes where staff are required to attend a HOS workplace other than their contractual place of work.

All bookings for travel and accommodation should be made through the staff travel & accommodation portal. Requests should be made as soon as requirements are known to ensure that the most favourable rates can be obtained. Consistent failure to do so may lead to disciplinary action. Designated “bookers” will be available to make bookings on behalf of the COO/Ombudsman and ARAC members.

The online travel and accommodation portal will provide staff with the most appropriate travel and accommodation available within policy. If accommodation options within policy are unsuitable staff will have the option to request an alternative choice, with Manager approval, but the submission request must identify why that approval is sought.

All flights whether domestic or international will require the approval of a manager when requested through the online Portal. Designated Bookers can book flights on behalf of the COO & Ombudsman.

2. Travel

Staff members should use the transport that offers best value for money overall.

a. Public Transport

Standard class travel should be used at all times if possible. First class travel should only be used in exceptional circumstances (or where cheaper than standard fare) and be approved in advance by a Manager. Advanced train tickets should be purchased wherever possible as they are generally lower cost, but where there is uncertainty over the time of travel an open ticket should be purchased.

b. Taxis

Reimbursement of taxi fares is permissible where there is concern over personal safety, limited access to public transport or where a staff member is carrying luggage etc. Special consideration will also be made for staff members with mobility problems.

c. Mileage rates

HOS will reimburse mileage for the use of staff members’ own vehicles in line with Revenue & Customs mileage allowance rates:

  • 45p for the first 10,000 business miles in a tax year; then
  • 25p for each subsequent mile

Anyone proposing to use their own vehicle for business purposes must hold valid business insurance.

3. Accommodation

Where staff cannot be reasonably expected to make a return journey to and from their destination in the same day, an overnight stay should be booked. This should be booked at the lowest reasonable cost and within the guideline rates where possible.

HOS uses the DLUHC guideline rates, which are currently £95 per night for outside London and £120 per night for London. A manager must approve any booking over the guideline rates once satisfied with the explanation for the off-policy booking as presented to them through the online Portal.

Every effort should be made to obtain accommodation to include breakfast within the set financial limits. Where that is not possible, and by exception, staff can book breakfast at their accommodation.

4. Subsistence

HOS will reimburse the cost of refreshments on journeys required for HOS business, including the cost of meals related to overnight stays.

Costs incurred should be reasonable and not exceed £10 for lunch or £20 for an evening meal.

For day travel, costs for breakfast will only be refunded where travel commences from the nearest train station to the employee’s contractual workplace before 8am. Under no circumstances will HOS reimburse the purchase of alcohol.

5. Expenses claim form

In all other circumstances, where expenses are incurred which are not managed through the online Portal, staff need to complete an expense claim form. The form can be found on HOOGLE and must be supported by appropriate receipts or evidence of expenditure. Expenses claim forms must be approved by a line manager.

The equipment policy supports our Home Working and should be followed for expense claims for equipment.

Expense claims should be submitted no later than 30 days after the costs are incurred.

Published March 2022