Travel and subsistence policy overseas

Published: 19 December 2022
Freedom of information class:

Overseas travel

If you are required to travel outside the United Kingdom this must be approved in advance by the keeper or accountable officer. A foreign travel approval form should be completed and retained by the traveller.

Official travelling

Travel for the purposes of official business includes attendance at:

  • Official meetings
  • Seminars or workshops
  • Training courses

Official travelling does not include travelling between your home and permanent workplace.

Travel & Subsistence costs

  • Travel and Subsistence costs should only be claimed in mitigating circumstances, a staff travel booking request form must be completed before travelling by train between MBH and SVP, for all other train journeys, accommodation or plane travel.
  • T&S is designed to meet the costs, actually and necessarily incurred, when travelling to and from an official business engagement which are additional to the normal cost of daily travel to and from your permanent workplace. This reflects HMRCs standpoint that any profit accrued from T&S is regarded as a staff benefit and is therefore subject to tax. Reimbursement is not appropriate unless extra expense is incurred and relevant receipts are attached to the claim.
  • It is the responsibility of each individual member of staff to fully understand the rules under which travel and subsistence expenses can be claimed, and to discuss and agree it with their manager prior to travel.

Planning your travel

Travel arrangements should be planned to keep the total expense to the minimum consistent taking account of business needs and efficiency. You must, in consultation with your manager, ensure that:

  • The reason for travel cannot be satisfactorily carried out remotely using relevant IT solutions, or:
  • The work cannot be carried out by utilising the services of a local member of staff, or;
  • The work cannot be postponed until another visit to the same area is to be made.

Once you and your manager have established that travel is required and it has been approved by the keeper or accountable officer you should ensure that the most cost effective method of travel is undertaken at all times. For the UK part of your journey you should take into account:

  • What public transport is available
  • Whether to use your own vehicle, (only if you are insured for business travel)
  • Whether an official allocated car or a hire car can be made available; (email:
  • Whether to use a contract taxi hire; (email:

The aim is to use the most efficient and economic means of travel, taking account not only of the cost of the travel but also the environmental impact and subsistence costs and savings in official time. If these conditions are not observed, payment of claims may be questioned and restricted where necessary. Travel should be booked as far in advance as possible to ensure the best available priced ticket.

You will not be reimbursed for any journey or part of a journey where you have used a private season ticket.

First class travel, regardless of grade, is not permitted unless there is a genuine business requirement. This must be approved by a senior manager prior to booking.

Booking your travel

To request travel and accommodation, you must complete a staff travel booking form and review the guidance.

Travel insurance

Registers of Scotland has contracted with Aviva to provide you with emergency medical cover when travelling abroad for work.

Before undertaking overseas travel you may wish to seek pre-travel advice about your destination. Pre Travel Helpline: +44 (0)1243 621 556.

In the event of an emergency the dedicated emergency medical assistance helpline is available 24 hours per day: +44 (0)1243 621 066.

A full copy of the travel policy document can be obtained from HR.

Personal injury compensation

The Civil Service Injury Benefit Scheme (CSIBS) applies to most individuals employed in the Civil Service not just members. The CSIBS pays benefits to members who have:

  • suffered a qualifying injury in the course of their official duty or during an activity reasonably incidental to duty; and
  • as a result their earning capacity has been impaired.

Staff travelling on official business or otherwise on duty away from their permanent workplace are covered under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme – Personal Injury compensation arrangement.

The benefits are paid to a person whose duties have taken them far away enough from their normal workplace to justify an overnight stay and then are injured – to the extent of losing at least one limb or eye or killed whilst off duty.

Any compensation paid by carriers or any payments made under insurance cover purchased partly or wholly by Registers of Scotland will affect injury benefits under the Civil Service Scheme.

It is open to staff to enhance compensation paid by particular carriers by taking out supplementary insurance. This however is a personal choice and the costs are not reimbursable by Registers of Scotland. Payments made under these arrangements would not affect any award under the Civil Service Scheme.

Registers of Scotland may provide limited financial compensation to staff for loss or damage to personal property whilst they are away from their permanent place of work on official business.

Keeping in touch – lone worker policy

Off-site lone working

It is the Line Manager’s responsibility to ensure that safe working arrangements are in place. Where it is not possible to devise arrangements for a person to work alone in safety then the work/activity is not to be permitted and alternative arrangements must be considered.

Traveller responsibilities:

  • Make your Line manager or a trusted RoS colleague aware of your itinerary of visits
  • Contact either by telephone, text or email your Line manager or a trusted RoS colleague at regular intervals or at a maximum 12 hour interval (even out with office hours)
  • Sign in and out at visited site reception
  • Ask the IT service desk to enable your RoS mobile device (Blackberry) for roaming services
  • Carry a mobile phone – make your Line manager or a trusted RoS colleague aware of this phone number
  • Ensure electronic diary is kept up to date and read-only access given to Line Manager and / or RoS colleagues

Line Manager should:

  • Ensure that the risk assessment document has been read by the staff member in question.
  • Ensure that the person is capable of working alone. The Line Manager will need to consider both routine work and foreseeable emergencies that may post additional physical and mental burdens on the individual.
  • Ensure that staff working alone understand the risks involved in their task and also what safety precautions will need to be taken. Examples would be ensuring that they are contactable, via portable or internal phone/radio, pre-arranged calls or physical checks by a second person.
  • Provide suitable and sufficient training for lone staff that outlines the specific risks involved and how they can play a role in deflecting or minimising the risk.
  • Establish emergency procedures in the event of an incident, including quick access to a safe area or exit from an unsafe location, evacuating other staff and informing the security team.

Approval and review

This policy will be reviewed and approved by the Policy and Practice Group annually, unless earlier review is appropriate

Author HROD Team – ER
Reviewed Head of People and Change 
Cleared Corporate Director
Approval PPG Approval date Existing policy
Policy version Version 1.0
Review responsibility Policy and Practice Group Review date April 2022
Publication scheme Yes
Email to

Overseas travel useful links