1. Purpose

1.1. This document sets out the University’s policy on expenditure and reimbursement of travel, subsistence, entertaining and other expenses incurred in the course of the University’s business.

1.2. This document also provides guidance to enable such activity to comply with relevant legal and financial regulations.

1.3. The University has engaged Travel Management Company Clarity to provide a travel booking service through an online tool or via a contact centre.

2. Scope

2.1. This policy applies to all categories of expenditure on travel, subsistence and entertaining using University administered funds regardless of method of payment.

2.2. This policy applies to all staff and students, and any other person undertaking a University activity.

2.3. This policy does not relate to the purchase of goods and services. The University’s Procurement Policy applies in this case.

2.4. All rates stated within this policy are inclusive of VAT.

2.5. The additional cost of any unapproved upgrade to the rates/standards stated within this policy will not be reimbursed by the University.

3. General principles

3.1. Economy and reasonableness

  • The general principles of reasonableness and economy combined with efficient working practices underlie the operation of these rules.
  • All travel and subsistence costs should be approved in advance where possible.

3.2. Environmental

3.2.1. This policy also supports delivering the University’s Environmental Policy and our commitment to the Climate Action Framework Principles. Carbon emissions associated with the way we travel for business and the products we buy account for more than 75% of our overall carbon footprint, and we have committed to at least cutting this by half by 2030.

When planning to travel, consideration must be given to the carbon impact of potential travel options prior to booking. Choosing lower carbon travel options does not necessarily cost more or take more time.

The carbon impact associated with travel should be considered with equal weighting when deciding the method of travel, with the lowest carbon method being the default choice.

3.2.2. This travel hierarchy table gives an overview of the carbon efficiency of different modes of transport.

Emissions from different modes of transport per passenger per kilometre*

Mode of transport CO₂ emissions (g) Secondary emissions, non CO₂ (g)
Eurostar 5 -
Coach 33 -
Domestic rail 43 -
Car (four passengers) 52 -
Local bus (not London) 146 -
Car (one passenger) 209 -
Long-haul flight 118 91
Domestic flight 157 116

*Source BEIS/Defra Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors 2021. Car refers to an average diesel car. All values include Well-to-Tank emissions.

  • Overall, the lowest carbon option is not to travel – consider whether you could use phone, email, or a virtual meeting instead.
  • Could arrangements be changed to minimise the number of journeys, combining this journey with another meeting, or starting the journey from home?
  • Where travel is necessary, consider walking or cycling first, followed by public transport.
  • Trains are preferable for longer journeys but where driving is considered the only practical option, consider car-sharing.
  • Flying should be the choice of last resort for destinations within England, Wales and Scotland (except north of Glasgow and Edinburgh) and the area serviced by Eurostar, unless such travel is not practical due to constraints which are approved by a line manager / research supervisory team.
  • The least carbon-emitting method should be used subject to the principle of economy and reasonableness where it is practical to do so, even where costs may be higher. In practice, this means that in many cases, land-based travel rather than flying is the default option.
  • If travel is being funded through a research grant, consider whether your original proposal could contain low/ zero travel price and full travel price options to give funders the opportunity to fund lower-carbon projects?
  • All air travel and UK rail must be booked using the University’s travel management company to ensure that carbon emissions can be recorded. This will not be mandated where the travel management company is not meeting its obligations under its Service Level Agreement.

3.3. Equality

  • The University has a duty of care under the Equality Act 2010 to provide reasonable adjustments for travellers. Reasonable adjustments may also be considered for those who do not fall under the Act but have an occupational health need, or caring responsibilities or similar. These will form part of the exception policy outlined in 5.5 below.

3.4. Health & Safety and Wellbeing

  • This policy is considerate of the need to ensure that the well-being of staff and students required to travel for the performance of University business is maintained.
  • The University has a Safety Standard that applies to all travel beyond campus. This provides the requirements for:
    • Fieldwork Risk Assessments. (Fieldwork includes activities such as undertaking social science interviews and research in urban areas, attendance at conferences and visits to institutions, as well as activities more traditionally associated with the term, such as survey or collection work carried out in more remote areas, and teaching groups of students in locations away from the university.)
    • Vulnerable people
    • Overseas Travel
    • Emergencies
    • Insurance
    • Information, Instruction and Training

3.5. Strategy

4. Process

4.1. Advances

  • A system of providing advance allowances exists where there is a requirement for payment by an individual where no other suitable payment method is available.
  • Advances will not be given for amounts less than £100.
  • Where an advance is obtained, records must be kept of all expenditure incurred and an expense claim (see 4.2) should be submitted to clear it within 28 days of the employee’s return.
  • Further advances will not be made where a previous advance remains overdue.
  • Advances can be requested online through Agresso.
  • Instructions on requesting an advance on Agresso.

4.2. Expense claims

  • For members of staff and postgraduate students expense claims are processed online through Agresso.
  • See instructions on how to process a claim on Agresso.
  • For any other person making a claim for expenditure incurred whilst undertaking a University activity this claim form should be used.
  • Expense claims that are over six months after the date that the expense was incurred will not normally be accepted except where exceptional circumstances can be justified.

4.3. Receipts

  • All claims for reimbursement of expenses must be supported by scanned or photo images of receipts, vouchers or equivalent evidence of the expense incurred. Original items must be retained in case of query/audit.
  • The University recognises that on occasions receipts may be lost or not be provided by the vendor. Claims can still be submitted in this instance:
    • For items over £10, a written justification should be provided and approval from the Head of Department, or their nominated delegate, and should be attached to the claim. (The principle in 5.3 also applies here).
    • For items under £10, an explanation does not need to be given but items without receipts must be identified on the claim. However, please be aware that some funders require receipts for all items of expenditure regardless of value; in this circumstance, receipts must be submitted for all items.
  • The receipts should include itemised details of the item/s bought and VAT breakdown and should show proof of payment. For receipts that are illegible, or not written in English, please provide a clear description of the expenditure on the back of the receipt. Credit card holder receipts and copies of credit card or bank statements do not include this information and so cannot be solely accepted as receipts to support a claim.
  • In the case of claiming back the cost of airline tickets via expenses, the airline booking confirmation (or equivalent) itemising the payment details can be provided as evidence of the expenditure.

4.4. Booking travel

5. Compliance/exceptions

5.1. The claimant is responsible for ensuring that all claims submitted adhere to this Policy.

5.2. The Head of Department, or those with delegated authority to manage the associated budget, is responsible for ensuring that all expense claims submitted to the Finance Office for payment represent a valid business expense in accordance with this Policy.

5.3. Where a claim is submitted by a Head of Department or responsible budget holder, or a member of staff with equal or greater seniority, the respective line manager will be responsible for ensuring the claim represents a valid business expense in accordance with this Policy. Claims submitted by the Vice Chancellor will be approved by the Chair of Council.

5.4. Where the Finance Office receives a claim that does not adhere to this Policy, including insufficient supporting paperwork, it will conduct enquiries to rectify the situation and reject where it is found to be non-compliant.

5.5. If a traveller feels that they are unable to make their travel arrangements within the constraints of this policy, e.g. reasons such as caring responsibilities, welfare or temporary health impairments, they must get written approval from their Dean / respective member of University Executive Board prior to making any bookings and this will be added to the annual exception report. The Travel Management Company may request a copy of this approval to complete the booking. Approval is not necessary to accommodate individual needs associated with disability and accessibility.

5.6. A report detailing instances of exceptions from this policy will be made available to the University Executive Board on a regular basis.

6. Details of allowable and non-allowable costs on expenses claims

6.1. Travel by vehicle

Category Allowable cost? Rate Comments
Car Mileage in own vehicle Yes Standard rate 30p per mile Drivers are responsible for ensuring their vehicle is:
• insured for University business purposes
• taxed
• roadworthy
Claims on Agresso should show postcodes of departure and destination
Enhanced rate 45p per mile The enhanced rate can be claimed for the first 150 miles of a round trip given any one of the following conditions:
• no suitable means of public transport was available
• equipment (not laptops) had to be transported
• University passengers were carried (see also note about additional allowance for passengers)
Passenger rate 5p per mile An additional 5p per mile per passenger may be claimed.
Note: if more than 10,000 business miles in total are travelled in any one tax year the maximum claim per mile over and above 10,000 miles is 30p.
Travel from home to work Not through expenses 45p per mile Occasionally allowable, for example, staff on call outside hours. Reimbursed through payroll and subject to deduction of tax/NI
Motorcycle Yes 24p per mile
Bicycle Yes 20p per mile
Vehicle rental No Vehicles may be hired via the University’s travel management company. Otherwise see further guidance about car hire.
Vehicle rental/car club: fuel costs Yes Claim cost of fuel via expenses with detailed VAT receipt showing litres of fuel
Other forms of transport such as e-scooters, electric bike hire Yes Reimbursed at cost with supporting receipt

6.2. Travel (other)

Category Allowable cost? Comments
Buses Yes Bus fares can be claimed via expenses
Taxis Yes Taxis can be used if this is cost-effective and appropriate for the journey. Generally taxis should be hailed/booked by the traveller and reclaimed via expenses. For more organised journeys, such as airport runs, you may use the Taxi Services Agreement for pre-booking local services.
Minibus and Coach Services Not through expenses The University’s Coach, Minibus and Midibus Agreement should be used.
Car parking Yes Reasonable car parking charges can be claimed where they are essential for the performance of University activity. For parking in the city of Bath, consideration should be given first to the local bus services.
Toll charges Yes Receipts should be obtained where possible
Parking fines No Never an allowable cost
Speeding fines No Never an allowable cost
Congestion/clean air zones and similar charges By exception Journeys should be planned in advance to avoid such charges. Charges will only be reimbursed if incurring them was unavoidable.
Tourist taxes Yes Fees imposed by the destination country or resort and usually payable locally such as ‘resort fees’ or ‘tourist tax’ are allowable

6.3. UK Rail/underground

Category Allowable cost? Comments
UK rail tickets Yes Standard class is the expected standard of travel. Pre-booked tickets must be booked through University’s travel management company. Tickets bought on the day of travel at the station can be claimed via expenses, but price savings likely to be missed.
UK rail tickets should normally be booked via Go2Book. If there is a need to make the booking via the contact centre, and they fail to make a response to the request within the Service Level Agreement timescale of 3 hours, then the booking may be made elsewhere and claimed via expenses
Railcard Sometimes If you can evidence that the cost of the railcard is less than the savings on University business travel, the cost of the card can be reimbursed.
Underground/light rail Yes Normally underground tickets should be purchased with rail tickets (choose London Zone 1 as your destination) through the University travel management company. Otherwise, claims for trips paid by contactless should be made through a personal Transport for London account which will provide documentation to support an expenses claim.

6.4. Air travel

Category Allowable cost? Comments
Air travel Flying should be the choice of last resort for destinations within England, Wales and Scotland and the area serviced by Eurostar (other than travel north of Glasgow/Edinburgh), unless such travel is not practical due to constraints which are approved by a line-manager / research supervisory team. Rail travel is encouraged to other near-Europe destinations where feasible and it can be booked via the Travel Management Company or elsewhere.
Long-Haul flights currently create 67% of our travel emissions from flying. Wherever possible, alternatives should be sought to long-haul flights. For example:
• consolidate multiple project meetings to fewer meetings
• change meeting locations to allow all/ most participants to travel by lower-carbon methods
• use video conferences
• seriously consider whether the benefits of physical attendance outweigh the significant negative impacts of climate change
We appreciate some flying is necessary in the course of certain roles, but we believe long haul flying can be partially reduced across the University without any material impact on University performance. We do however recognise the importance of in-person attendance at conferences and for research collaborations and would expect colleagues to balance the need to be taking part in activities that raise the profile of research at Bath nationally and internationally against the potential carbon footprint.
See the travel hierarchy (section 3.2) for an overview of the carbon efficiency of different modes of transport.
Air travel – Yes Tickets must be booked through University’s travel management company. In the exceptional circumstance that this does not prove possible, confirmation of the reason why the TMC was not used should be included on the expense claim. Claims for flights where the TMC has not been approached will not be reimbursed until after date of travel. Note: the travel management company offer a price match service if you feel the most economical price has not been offered.
Point to point air tickets should normally be booked via Go2Book. If there is a need to make the booking via the contact centre, and they fail to make a response to the request within the Service Level Agreement timescale of 3 hours, then the booking may be made elsewhere and claimed via expenses
Air travel –economy Yes Economy class is the expected standard of travel
Air travel –premium economy Yes Economy class is the expected standard of travel, however premium economy may be booked in circumstances where budgets allow for flights exceeding 6 hours and where its timing in relation to the performance of University business activity merits it. The greater carbon footprint of such a ticket must also be considered. Where premium economy is not available, business class may be booked. The necessity of this upgrade should be considered for all legs of the journey.
Carbon impact: premium economy equals 1.6 times more emissions; business class equals 2.9 times more emissions
Air travel –business class By exception only Business class travel is allowable only in exceptional circumstances due to the additional carbon emissions and cost deemed to be associated with such travel. This would normally apply to flights exceeding 6 hours where certain circumstances may exist such as: excessive total journey time and/or complexity; where other classes of travel may have a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of the traveller; or where the timing in relation to the performance of University business activity merits it. In those circumstances written approval containing details of the justification for Business class travel must be obtained by the relevant member of the University Executive Board prior to making the booking. Members of the Executive Board must receive approval in accordance with section 5.3 prior to the booking. Where the booking is made via the travel management company a copy of the written approval must be provided at the point of booking. Where the cost is claimed via expenses a copy of the written approval must be provided with the claim.
Airport lounge sometimes In the case of a delayed flight, or circumstances that allow staff to access facilities that support working at the airport, the use of an airport lounge is permitted.

6.5. Other travel costs

Category Allowable cost? Comments
Ferry crossing Yes Ferry tickets can be booked through University’s travel management company.
Ferry –cabin Yes An on-board cabin may be booked if the crossing exceeds 6 hours.
Travel insurance No All trips booked via the Travel Management Company are covered by the University’s cover with UMAL. Please download the summary of cover to get details of cover and emergency assistance available. Claims for personal travel insurance will not be paid.
Travel visas Yes Travel visas can be claimed through expenses or booked via travel management company who will be billed directly by CIBT.
Work permits Yes If a work permit is required to undertake University of Bath activities outside the UK, these costs will be reimbursed.
Passport costs Sometimes Standard costs for passports, renewals or updates will not be reimbursed. Essential costs such as additional pages due to extensive business travel will be reimbursed subject to PAYE and NI deductions.
Medical costs Yes Find pre-travel advice on medical issues such as inoculations. Additional costs such as inoculations will be reimbursed.

6.6. Accommodation

Category Allowable cost? Comments
Hotel/overnight accommodation Yes The following nightly bed and breakfast single-room rates should be treated as the maximum payable and in normal circumstances much lower rates should be achievable, especially if booked well in advance:
• £130 UK (excluding London)
• £200 London and non-UK major cities
Tickets must be booked through University’s travel management company. In the exceptional circumstance that this does not prove possible, confirmation of the reason why the TMC was not used should be included on the expense claim. Claims for flights where the TMC has not been approached will not be reimbursed until after date of travel.
Straightforward hotel bookings should normally be made via Go2Book. If there is a need to make the booking via the contact centre, and they fail to make a response to the request within the Service Level Agreement timescale of 3 hours, then the booking may be made elsewhere and claimed via expenses
Conference related hotel booking Yes Accommodation booked as part of a conference, or where a hotel offers a discounted rate for delegates need not be booked via the Travel Management Company
Accommodation with partner institutions Yes Accommodation provided by, or hotel rates which are exclusive to a partner institution need not be booked via the Travel Management Company
Accommodation booking platforms not available via the University’s travel management company Yes The cost of accommodation booked directly can be claimed, providing:
• rail/Air travel is still booked through Travel Management Company
• booking is made using @bath.ac.uk email
• 'Travelling for Business' box is ticked where offered
• booking platform reviews for the property show no cause for concern
• enquiries are made to ensure safety of location and fire safety, for example, smoke alarms, CO alarms
Expense claims for such bookings will not be reimbursed prior to travel and receipt/invoice will be required.
Travel with family If a larger room/property is booked due to travel with family, only equivalent cost for solo travel/single occupancy will be reimbursed. Evidence of the comparison of costs is required.

6.7. Food, drink, and entertaining costs

Category Allowable cost? Comments
Subsistence Yes The University will reimburse the actual cost of meals and refreshments while the individual is away on University activity up to a maximum cost of £45 per day. Where an excessive claim is submitted for an individual meal and associated refreshments, this will be paid in accordance with the following limits:
• up to £10.00 for breakfast
• up to £10.00 for lunch
• up to £25.00 for an evening meal
Gratuities Yes Reasonable gratuities/service charges can be claimed where itemised on a bill.
Staff social functions Sometimes The cost associated with a staff departmental seasonal/social/celebratory event is allowable once per annum with a limit of £25 per head. Only reasonable amounts of alcohol are allowable within the per head limit. Approval by the Head of Department must be obtained prior to incurring the expenditure. Section 5.3 also applies.
Internal Meetings No Costs of internal meetings, working lunches are not claimable through expenses. Food and drink for internal events can be ordered via the internal catering service.
Entertaining Yes 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 regarding the numbers of University staff attending such events and as a general rule, the staff-to-client ratio should not exceed 2:1. Where the ratio is greater than this justification must be given. Purchases of moderate amounts of alcohol will be reimbursed when part of hospitality to existing or potential business clients. All claims for reimbursement of such expenses must include a typed 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. An overall maximum of £50 per attendee will be reimbursed (reduced to £25 for daytime events).

6.8. Miscellaneous

Category Allowable cost? Comments
Costs which are never allowed Never The following types of expenditure may never be paid via expenses:
• payment of wages, call-out payments, overtime payments, or other ad hoc remuneration
• gifts to members of staff or ex-members of staff
• gifts in lieu of fee/expenses
• payments for non-business use of goods/services
• personal expenditure, loans or advances to employees or students, or for cashing personal cheques
Ancillary items for travel No Costs for items such as suitcases, travel clothes, toiletries will not be reimbursed.
Conference bookings Yes Conference bookings may be paid for via a University purchase card, claimed via expenses or in some cases can be booked via the Travel Management Company. In all cases the expenditure must be approved by the budget holder.
Travelling with partner/family No Additional costs incurred travelling with accompanying family will not be paid by the University. The Travel Management Company can split the payment and take payment by card for personal travel.
Bench Fees/Training Support Funds Details on the use of Bench Fees
Travel between University sites Yes Allowable permanent workplaces on University business. Under flexible/homeworking arrangements, travel between home and University premises is not allowable.
Eye Tests and glasses Yes Please check with your faculty/department administrator or safety coordinator before submitting any claim for eye tests or glasses. The University will reimburse an employee up to £40 for the cost of a sight test. The University will also contribute up to £50 for single vision glasses, or up to £80 for bifocals/varifocals lenses, where it is confirmed by the optician that they are needed solely for display screen equipment work. The University will not reimburse employees where glasses are also required for other uses including, but not limited to, reading, driving, or watching television.
For safety glasses (where required by a risk assessment in a laboratory or workshop environment) the University will contribute up to £50 for single vision CR39 lenses, or up to £80 for bifocals/varifocals lenses.
The employee must pay the optician for the sight test and spectacles and then submit a claim, with receipt/invoice, to the University to be reimbursed. For further guidance please also refer to Display Screen Equipment Safety Standard.
Phone calls/mobile data Yes Where home and personal mobile phones are used for University business the cost of these calls /data will be reimbursed. A copy of the phone bill/statement will need to be attached to the claim with the relevant calls highlighted showing the cost.
Broadband No Cost of using Broadband for homeworking may not be claimed via expenses.
Mobile phones No If a mobile phone is required for work, follow these guidelines.
Computer equipment No Costs of computer equipment (laptops, printers, etc) may not be claimed via expenses. See how to request a University-funded device
Software No Costs of software may not be claimed via expenses. Find out how to get IT software.
Stationery No Costs of stationery may not be claimed via expenses
Payments to research participants Not through expenses Read about payments to research participants
Work clothing No See how to order work clothing
Individual professional memberships By exception Read the policy on personal subscriptions
Relocation expenses Find out how to claim relocation expenses
Interview expenses Find out how to claim interview expenses

Version information

Owner: Tony Brett Version number: 1.00 Approval date: January 2022 Approved by: UEB Date of last review: 2022