Travel and subsistence policy UK

Published: 29 December 2022
Freedom of information class:

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.

The travel hierarchy

RoS is committed to encouraging greener travel and endorses the following objectives for official travel:

  • To reduce the need to travel
  • To increase awareness of travel choices and their implications
  • To facilitate and promote more active modes of travel
  • To increase sustainable forms of transport for official business

Other objectives are contained in the green travel policy.

The travel hierarchy upon which this policy is based is provided below and considers both environmental impact and economic impact:

  1. Is there a need for travel - can a telephone call, video conference or email deliver the same outcome;
  2. Walking/cycling – these are the healthiest and cheapest forms of transport, and have negligible environmental impact, however it is only viable for short journeys
  3. Bus / rail – the majority of UK official travel should be undertaken by bus /rail.  It allows the opportunity to work whilst travelling on medium to long distance trips;
  4. Car / taxi – sometimes this may be the only option but will be more economical and have less of an environmental impact when occupied by more than one person.  This method of transport causes congestion and high carbon emissions per head; and
  5. Air travel - sometimes this may be the only option for travel, however it is likely to be higher in cost.  It may sometimes be cheaper in monetary terms than rail cost and increased travel time, however it does have the highest carbon emissions.

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.
Travel & Subsistence claim form

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 you should make full use of any discounted arrangements available and ensure that the most cost effective method of travel is undertaken at all times.

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.

Travel from home to permanent workplace

The cost of daily travel between home and permanent workplace is a personal responsibility.

However, home to office travel can be paid when a member of staff is:

  • required to make an additional attendance outside normal working hours (HMRC has ruled any payment should be subject to Tax and National Insurance Contributions therefore any travel expenses should be claimed through Payroll)
  • required to make a journey to a rail station late in the evening (after 10.00pm) to travel by overnight sleeper train
  • required to remain at the workplace and public transport has either ceased to run or is severely restricted
  • travelling under emergency arrangements at times when public transport is severely disrupted

Travel booking

Travel and accommodation (other than travel between RoS offices) should be requested by submitting a staff travel approval form.

Travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow

Guidance for train tickets

For travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow, rail tickets can be requested via the staff travel booking form. This form must be submitted a minimum of 72 hours prior to travelling.

Guidance for bus tickets

For bus travel within Edinburgh, Citysmart cards from Lothian Buses can be requested via the staff travel booking form.

Other Travel

To request other travel including trains beyond Edinburgh or Glasgow and plane travel, please book this via the staff travel booking form.

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 your line manager either by telephone, text or email 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 for roaming services
  • Carry a mobile phone – make your Line manager or a trusted RoS colleague aware of this phone number
  • Ensure your 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 RoS Lone Working Risk Assessment.
  • 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 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.

AuthorHROD Team – ER 
ReviewedHead of People and Change 
Cleared Corporate Director
ApprovalPPG Approval date Existing policy
Policy version Version 1.0
Review responsibilityPolicy and Practice Group Review date April 2023
Publication scheme Yes
Email to