New Expenses Policy - 10 key changes

Summary of the key changes

The key changes are available as a leaflet for departments to download and share with colleagues to raise awareness of the key points.

1. Booking with Key Travel 

Staff are strongly advised to book via Key Travel, but this is not compulsory. At this time we are not proposing to implement the mandatory use of the University’s Travel Management Service, Key Travel, and staff can use an alternative to Key Travel where financial savings can be clearly demonstrated (sections 5.4 and 6.1).

2. External funder restrictions on what expenses can be claimed

The expenses policy takes precedence unless more restrictive financial limits are stipulated by the funder. Please note that external funder restrictions must be met before submitting expense claims for approval (section 3.1).

3. Buying goods and services

Any items purchased on expenses with University-administered funds are University property. Staff-related payments, consultancy and mobile phone contracts must not be claimed on expenses (section 3.3).

4. Fuel costs in lieu of mileage rates

Fuel costs can only be claimed for hire vehicles. Fuel costs in lieu of HMRC mileage rates not be claimed for the use of personal vehicles for University purposes (section 5.10).

5. Passport costs

Passport costs will not be reimbursed unless the claim is for the additional fee for a 50-page passport or for a second concurrent passport required for University purposes (section 5.13).

6. Per diem subsistence rates

The per diem rates of £5 or £10 per night are no longer applicable and must not be claimed for nights away from home. The actual costs of personal incidental expenses can be claimed (section 6.2).

7. Authorisation of claims

Expenses claims need to be authorised by; a more senior member of staff to the person claiming the expense; the budget holder, or a designated Finance Manager and not delegated to any other person. The person authorising the claim is also responsible for making sure the claim adheres to the University’s expenses policy (section 4.5).  

8. Delays in claiming expenses

Any claims out with the three month deadline must be submitted for approval to the Finance helpline (section 4.4).

9. Responsibilities

This has not changed, but we’re reminding colleagues that the staff making claims and staff authorising the claims are the ones who are responsible for complying with the policy. If you’re making a claim, or authorising one, you need to make sure that to the best of your knowledge, the claim is compliant with the expenses policy. You as a claimant, are still responsible for the claim, even if a proxy user has inputted it.  

10. Best practice

As best practice, the expenses policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Finance Department. By updating the expenses policy, we can make sure the policy is up-to-date, operationally effective at all levels and compliant with our charitable purpose, public expectation and tax law. But importantly it also helps claimants and authorisers to understand what can and cannot be claimed for, what is considered reasonable and what the exceptions are.


 Please take the time to read the new Expenses Policy for more details, including for travel information and further advice. For further support, please refer to the FAQs.


The Finance Department have a dedicated team to answer your questions on this policy change.

Tel: 0131 651 5151 option 1