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Travel and subsistence policy

1. Overview  This policy sets out the limits on travel and subsistence for staff and Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) members when travelling on Ombudsman business* and the process to follow when T&S will […]

1. Overview

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

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

 All requests for travel and accommodation should be made to the Corporate Services Team (CST). 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.

CST will provide staff with one option on accommodation, where this is required. If staff would prefer to stay elsewhere, they can search for alternative accommodation themselves, but this must not cost more than the limits set out below and be value for money. Staff should book this accommodation themselves and note why the CST option was not chosen when claiming back their expenses.

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 member of SLT. 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

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 member of SLT must sign off any booking over the guideline rates.

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

The expenses claim form is saved in the e-Library and available upon request.

It should be filled out and signed by the employee and their line manager. All claims should be supported by appropriate receipts or evidence of expenditure. Where receipts cannot be provided, staff should speak to the FM or DFCP for further information.

In addition to the travel and subsistence policy we operate a similar expenses claim form in relation to equipment. 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

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