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Background

The Health Research Authority (HRA) will sometimes appoint members to incur expenses as part of their role. These expenses are usually travel related, such as train fares, subsistence and occasionally over-night accommodation.  

The HRA is committed to supporting Committee members in the performance of their role whilst also ensuring that the delivery of our services is effective, efficient and economical. This policy and procedure explains what expenses can be incurred, the process for booking travel and accommodation and the process for reimbursement of these expenses. 

Policy

The HRA will reimburse Committee members for additional expenses incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively in connection with HRA business. 

Committee members should not be either financially disadvantaged or advantaged because of genuine expenditure incurred in carrying out their HRA role.  

For most Committee member expenses (rail fares and accommodation) the HRA has a direct purchase and settlement arrangement in place with our service provider, Corporate Travel Management (CTM). This not only enables the HRA to purchase economically, it also provides comprehensive data to understand better our travel and accommodation purchasing. For other expenditure (for example, subsistence) Committee members are responsible for the payment of the expenses they incur and the timely submission of expense forms for reimbursement. 

This policy and procedure has been developed with consideration to the HRA’s six core values: Inspiring Leadership, Integrity, Trusted, Transparent, Collaborative and Empowering.   Further information on our values is available on the HRA Website. 

Procedure

1. Purpose

The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that Committee members expenses are incurred and reimbursed efficiently, effectively and economically in support of the HRA’s strategic and operational objectives. In particular by: 

  • 1.1. Determining what expenditure can be incurred and reimbursed and the procedure for doing so
  • 1.2. Ensuring our Committee members’ time is used efficiently and effectively 
  • 1.3. Ensuring fair and equitable treatment and enabling reasonable adjustment where appropriate
  • 1.4. Encouraging active travel options for health and well-being and sustainable travel where practical
  • 1.5. Protecting the HRA’s reputation through consideration of the external impact of expense-related decisions (for example the use of first class travel and how this might be perceived)

This policy and procedure are designed to ensure that all expenses incurred and reimbursed meet the HRA's remit and statutory obligations. Where the requirements of this policy and procedure have not been met, associated expenses will not be reimbursed.

2. Scope 

This policy covers all Committee member-related expenses. This includes REC and CAG Committee members. It does not include those involved in Patient and Public involvement who are covered by a separate policy and procedure. 

3. Responsibilities

3.1 All Committee members 

We expect our Committee members to consider the expenditure they incur carefully, being mindful that the HRA is publicly funded and that we should seek best value in all that we do. 

3.2 Managers Responsibilities 

  • To know and understand the HRA’s reimbursement of HRA Committee Members Expenses policy and to promote and apply this in their work
  • To encourage booking travel as far in advance as practically possible
  • To ensure that expense claims are supported by receipts, are correct and meet the requirements of this policy before approving and forwarding for payment;

3.3 Committee Members Responsibilities 

  • To know and understand the HRA’s reimbursement of HRA Committee Members policy and apply these in carrying out their role
  • To submit expense claims, supported by receipts, on a timely basis, and no less frequently than six-monthly if less than £200.   

4. Allowable Expenses 

4.1 Travel 

The HRA will reimburse the reasonable travel costs necessarily incurred in the performance of your role, for example, travelling to a meeting, attending training or to a regional office on HRA business.  

Committee members should travel by the most cost-effective and sustainable method of transport taking into account journey time, the nature of the journey (rail preferable to car) and monetary cost. We encourage the use of travel cards as these can reduce the cost of travel and will be  reimbursed where it can be demonstrated that the cost of the card is less than the cost of the equivalent tickets. Committee members are also encouraged to use rail cards although the cost of these cannot be reimbursed by the HRA.

4.1.1 By rail: 

Committee members should travel standard class and should book their journeys sufficiently in advance (ideally at least six weeks), preferably through their HRA contact and using  CTM, to obtain the best possible prices and collect all travel data. Where there are no standard class tickets available or first class travel is the cheapest option then first class travel can be taken, supporting evidence will be required as well as Director of Finance or Director of Transformation approval.  

4.1.2 By plane: 


Committee members should travel economy class and should book their journeys sufficiently in advance, and only through CTM, to obtain the best possible prices and collect all travel data. Director approval is required in advance of all air travel booking.

4.1.3 By taxi: 

Committee members are not usually expected to use taxis however there may be times when it is the only practical form of transport, specifically:

  • When carrying heavy luggage / equipment on HRA business
  • In case of poor mobility/disability
  • If no other public transport is reasonably available
  • When traveling early morning / late at night for personal safety
  • In emergencies

Vital supporting information: 

Only travel expenses supported by a valid receipt, confirmation of purchase, bank statement or ticket will be reimbursed.

4.1.4 By Committee member's own vehicle/bike: 

On the rare occasion where travelling by car / motorcycle is the most cost effective and sustainable method of travel, the HRA provides a mileage allowance. The most common allowances are: 

Rates per mile *


Type of vehicle/allowance First 3,000 miles Above 10,000 miles
Car 45p 20p
Motorcycle 28p 28p
Cycle 20p 20p

Where a Committee member uses their own vehicle, he/she should ensure that the vehicle is in good working order, fully insured (including business travel), taxed and MOTd. Committee members must also have a valid drivers licence.

For convenience this is managed through the authorised car user process where you are required to complete the authorised car user form to demonstrate you meet the necessary requirements to be able to use your car on HRA business. The authorised car user form is available from your HRA contact.

Parking fines, clamping charges and penalty fees for non payment of conjestion charges will not be reimbursed by the HRA.

4.1.5 Hotels 

Usually Committee meetings and training sessions are held at locations that can be accessed on the day of the meeting/ training session avoiding the need for overnight accommodation. 

In the unusual event that overnight accommodation is needed, for example national training events, hotel bookings should be made in advance, at the best possible rates, preferably through our CTM, Travel and Accommodation system and with prior approval from your HRA contact.

Rates should not exceed: 

  • £75/night (£115/night London / major European city) inclusive of VAT and breakfast

Any booking in excess of these amounts needs to be approved by the Director of Finance or Director of Transformation. If booking full board accommodation £25/night can be added to the limits above and Director approval is also required. 

4.2 Subsistence 

The HRA reimburses reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred by Committee members when it is necessary to travel away from home on HRA business for a period of time. This includes the cost of overnight accommodation (see above), meals and beverages (not alcohol), travel costs (see above), parking and the cost of business calls incurred. 

Allowances are payable up to these rates:

Period of Absence Allowance*
Over 5 hours (including between 12:00 and 14:00) £5
Over 10 hours (and return after 19:00) £15
Per 24 hours period £25

*where all inclusive packages have been used for accommodation, or refreshments are provided, subsistence allowances do not apply. 

To help demonstrate that expenses are being claimed to recover the extra cost of business travel, all expense claims must be supported by valid receipts (or supporting information as above) for HRA approval. 

Staying with friends or family

Committee members who choose to stay with friends or family while on HRA business can claim the flat 24 hours subsistence rate, £25. This includes an allowance for meals. No receipts are required and the payment will not be subject to income tax. 

4.3 Carer's allowance 

Committee members are able to claim for costs incurred for the care of children, a dependent relative or their own carer requirements when necessarily incurred as a result of performing their HRA role. The allowance should cover actual costs incurred up to the following hourly limits:

Carer type Hourly limit Indicative daily limit
Childcare £8.00/hr (£10.00/hr London) £55
Dependent relative care £18 N/A
Carer's allowance £18 N/A

4.4 Other expenses

Usually all expenditure is purchased through the HRA agreed procurement process. In exceptional circumstances a Committee member may need to purchase goods and services and reclaim them through expenses. In these circumstances advance approval from your HRA contact is needed.

The HRA will reimburse professional registration fees for Committee members, no longer performing their professional role, but where the HRA has specifically requested registration is required to act as a professional member on a HRA Committee. The arrangement must be documented in writing and approved by HRA Member Support Team. 

5. Breakdown of activities covered by the procedure 

5.1 Corporate Travel Management (CTM) Booking System (rail, air and accommodation) 

The CTM Booking System is the preferred method for booking all rail (excluding oyster cards), air and accommodation requirements.

 Designated bookers in the HRA have been trained on the system and are happy to process all your travel and accommodation needs. 

For travel and/or accommodation requests, please provide the following information to your HRA contact.  

  •  Name of traveler
  • Traveler type (HRA Committee member)
  • HRA Contact
  • Travel details (departure date, time & station; return date, time & station; flexibility)
  • Ticket collection point
  • Hotel requirements
  • Traveler email address
  • Cost centre code

These details will then be passed onto one of our designated bookers by your HRA contact also including 

  • Cost centre code
  • Approving manager 

5.2 Out of pocket expenses 

Where you have incurred costs directly on HRA business and need reimbursement you will need to complete an HRA Committee Member expense form, appendix 1. 

 Receipts should be provided to evidence the extra costs that you have incurred. In the unlikely event where this is not possible (lost wallet for example) You should certify on each occasion that the extra costs you have incurred are a fair reflection based on your knowledge.

 In completing the claim form you will need to certify that the expenditure has been incurred necessarily on HRA business and that the claim meets the requirements of this policy, particularly that you are claiming for the extra costs incurred as a result of fulfilling your role. You will then need to send your certified form with receipts attached to your HRA contact for authorisation.

 Managers in authorising expense forms must confirm that the claim meets the requirements of the policy. Where items are claimed that are not in accordance with this policy the manager must return the form to the claimant for amendment and resubmission.  

 All valid expense forms should be added to the appropriate Committee spreadsheet, and once authorised by the manager, the Committee spreadsheet should be sent to the generic Finance email address for uploading onto SBS.

 Payment will be made directly into your bank account by NHS SBS.  

6. Monitoring of activities covered by the procedure 

Travel and accommodation activity is reviewed monthly by leadership team to monitor expenditure, usage trends and policy compliance. The CTM invoice is also reviewed by the Chief Executive and Director of Finance to highlight any exceptions to this policy together with adhoc follow up with individuals.

 Expenses incurred by cost centre are recorded within the accounting system and reported to budget managers on a monthly basis together with the narrative provided by CTM. Budget managers are expected to review and monitor expenses to ensure they have been correctly coded and authorised.

 Expense forms are routinely reviewed to ensure compliance with the policy and form part of the annual external audit. 

7. How lessons are learnt and incorporated into the procedure

The finance department will review this policy at least every two years and more frequently if a need arises or agenda for change rates or terms and conditions are amended.

Request for review, stating the reasons should be sent to the Director of Finance. 

8. Supporting paperwork/forms

  • Expense claim form (appendix 1) 
  • Authorised car user form (appendix 2) 

9. Dissemination and publication of the document 

A copy of this document is held in the HRA hub central library.

All members of staff are expected to read and understand the expenses policy and procedure as part of their HRA induction and when revised versions are released.

10. Screening Questions - HRA Equality Analysis and Privacy Impact Assessment 

Equality and privacy screening questions 

For every HRA policy (defined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as a function, strategy, procedure, practice, project or decision). Please answer the question below to determine whether further analysis is required. 


Equality: With regard to our Equality Duty, could this policy have the potential to have a detrimental impact on anyone with a protected characteristic? No Yes (please complete as required either the HRA Initial Equality Analysis and / or Initial Privacy Impact Assessment Template and copy and paste the completed assessment (s) below. This one document can be found on the Intranet).
Privacy: With due regard to the Data Protection Act, does this policy involve the use of Personal Information? No Yes (please complete as required either the HRA Initial Equality Analysis and / or Initial Privacy Impact Assessment Template and copy and paste the completed assessment (s) below. This one document can be found on the Intranet)
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