Please note that policy requirements relating to Key Travel will not be applicable until your Faculty/Service has gone live with the Key Travel booking system.

Chapter 11 Expenses financial procedures - travel and subsistence

General Principles

  1. This policy has been developed in line with the University Strategic Plan 2015, enabling travellers to help the University deliver the objective of increasing international reach and integrating with enterprise locally, nationally and internationally.  It also supports the principles of efficient back office systems and reduced bureaucracy. 

  2. This policy has been prepared in accordance with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Income Tax and National Insurance Contribution regulations.  Employees operating within this policy should not incur any additional personal tax or National Insurance liability on their travel and subsistence costs.

  3. As a responsible employer, the University has a duty of care to all travellers on University business to ensure the highest possible degree of safety and security, whether the travel is national or international.  As such, the University asks that all travellers on University business follow this business travel and subsistence policy.

  4. The University of Leeds has a clear responsibility to make a difference in society.  In the context of business travel, this means that the value of the journey (e.g. building relationships or enhancing research excellence), should be balanced against the impact (e.g. increased carbon emissions and pollution).  Where appropriate, ways to reduce this impact should be considered.  

  5. Business travel – particularly air travel - contributes significantly to carbon budgets at organisational, national and international scales, along with associated environmental, health and social impacts.  These impacts need to be managed while recognising the value that travel can generate.  The University of Leeds Sustainability Strategy and Travel Plan commits to foster a staff and student body where sustainable travel – including business travel - is the norm. 

  6. Travellers that have followed the policy and booked all travel arrangements with Key Travel, will benefit from the support of Key Travel in the event of an emergency, incident, delay or travel disruption.  Travellers that have made overseas bookings outside of the policy will be supported by the University insurance policy however it might take longer for repatriation or support services to be delivered. (+44 (0) 20 7843 9602).

  7. University resources must be expended solely on activities which are wholly and necessarily in the interests of the University.  Any incidents of misdirection of University funds (including falsified claims) will be taken very seriously and be dealt with in line with the University’s anti-fraud policy and may lead to disciplinary procedures.

  8. Travel arrangements should be based on availability, practicality and cost (lowest logical travel fare).  The most cost efficient manner which meets the business needs should be used, whilst considering safety and environmental impacts.

  9. For travel which is funded by an external body, the University’s Travel and Subsistence Policy shall take precedence over those of the funding body (save for where further limitations and restrictions apply).  Travellers are expected to comply with this policy even if the funding is supplied by a grant or external body with an alternative policy. 

  10. Maximum expense allowances payable are set out within these procedures.

  11. Promotional incentives and personal debit/credit card incentives should not influence the purchasing decision. All purchases should represent best value for money for the University.

  12. A risk assessment should be considered for all work related travel activities. (This can be a generic/ pro-forma assessment for travel that is low risk and/ or repetitive and as such will only need to be completed once and then reviewed to ensure it still addresses the risks). Where fieldwork is being undertaken the University’s Fieldwork Protocol should be followed. In some cases travel to high risk areas (for example where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel) will require Health and Safety authorisation before approval to travel will be granted.  Further information and support can be found on the Health and Safety Service webpages or by contacting Health and Safety Services Ext 34201.
    A copy of the completed risk assessment form, which includes emergency contact details, should be issued to the Head of School/Service (or nominee) and the line manager.

  13. In order to achieve best value for money and to support duty of care for all travellers, the University strongly encourages all business travel to be pre-booked using the University’s approved business travel partner, Key Travel. 
  • For travel arrangements with an aggregate spend of under the value of £500, travellers may either use the University’s approved business travel partner (Key Travel) or can book via another means and will be reimbursed via the expense system or by using a University purchasing card  or via the SIPR ordering process .

  • For travel arrangements with an aggregate spend of over the value of £500, travellers should use the University’s approved business travel partner (Key Travel). 
  1. All travel bookings over the £500 threshold will require pre- approval from either a line manager or the budget holder for the account being charged.

  2. Where travel arrangements over the £500 threshold could not be secured via the University’s approved business travel partner, Key Travel, the SIPR ordering process should be used.  Bookers should include a suitable justification within the SIPR in order to ensure that service levels can be recorded and managed with University’s approved business travel partner for good contract governance. Travel related expenses with an aggregate value over £500 should be authorised by the Faculty Dean/Executive Service Lead. Purchasing cards cannot be used for travel related expenses with an aggregate value over £500. Note that recurrent or repeat exceptions can be provided if justified.

  3. Travel between an employee’s normal place of work and another University of Leeds location is classed as business travel.  Journeys between home and the normal place of work (the University) cannot be claimed as a business expense, unless the traveller has been required to attend that place of work for a specific purpose outside of normal working hours.


Page owner: | Updated: 09/04//2018