Skip to main content

Personal subscription regulation

This regulation sets out the rules to be applied to corporate and personal subscriptions and when this expenditure can be incurred by the University.


Information not provided
Information not provided
Approval date
28 Feb 2024
Approved by
Information not provided
Date of last review
Information not provided
Date of next review
Information not provided

Corporate subscriptions

Corporate subscriptions are where the subscription is in the name of the University or a specific department rather than a named individual. These are treated like any other business expenditure.

Personal membership subscriptions to professional bodies and learned societies (staff)

The general rule in relation to staff is that personal subscriptions to professional bodies and academic and learned societies are a personal liability and as such should not be charged to any funds administered by the University. An individual can claim their own income tax relief on subscriptions to professional bodies provided that the body is on the HM Revenue & Customs list of approved organisations

Exceptions to this general rule may be approved in the following situations for staff in the Education and Research job family only, however certain role specific requirements might be relevant to positions in other job families, for example Solicitors and Security staff:

  • Where the subscription is associated with a role rather than an individual, e.g. an association of heads of a subject department.
  • Where the Head of Department has deemed that individual membership is necessary for the purposes of course accreditation or research functionality.
  • Where it can be shown that the membership results in a net saving in costs by giving free or reduced subscriptions to professional journals and/or a reduced fee for the attendance at a conference. Where the former, it is a necessary condition that the journals or other publications and any other membership benefits accrue to the University and not just to the individual member of staff.

Approved subscriptions to bodies that are not on the HMRC approved list will incur a tax charge, this is likely to include all subscription to bodies based outside the UK. This will be met by the University and will be charged to the same project code as the subscription. Heads of Department should bear this in mind when considering the costs and benefits of approving a subscription.

All Individuals should raise the request to settle a subscription through the University and always seek Head of Department approval before doing this. Claiming subscription costs through expenses should be avoided.

Subscriptions to journals and other publications

The cost of journal subscriptions may be met from funds held by the University provided that the expenditure is relevant to the individual’s work at the University. The publication must be made available to others as required and remain with the University on termination of employment. Wherever possible the subscription should be in the name of the University or a department and be paid for directly by the University. If that is not possible, then the publications should be delivered to a University address and not a personal address.

Please note: The Library has an extensive range of journal subscriptions accessible to both staff and students.

Student subscriptions

Subscriptions may be paid by the University on behalf of students provided they are wholly necessary for the purposes of their study


Heads of Departments are responsible for the implementation of this regulation within their respective Departments and for its communication to their staff and students as appropriate.

The Finance and Procurement Office are responsible identifying subscriptions incurred that are not on the HMRC approved list and for making the appropriate disclosure and settlement to HMRC.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

On this page