Can an exception to the 5 mile rule be made?

QUESTION:

We have been asked to use the Potters Club more.
It is an excellent environment for quiet meetings with business clients, especially those new to the potteries.
Can an exception (to the 5 mile rule) be made so that we may expense business coffees / lunches (within the specified limits) at the Potters Club?
This would not be to the exclusion of our excellent catering on campus, but provide a complementary additional option.

ANSWER:

Thank you for getting in touch. Your query appears to make reference to two separate sections of the Travel Policy.

Wherever possible, colleagues who are entertaining external clients should use the University’s catering services as their first choice.

The 5 mile rule applies only when staff are claiming for the cost of their own meals, if they are away from the University’s sites on University business.

More information about the Travel Policy can be viewed on the Finance website.

Why are approved suppliers not being utilised to achieve savings?

QUESTION:

In line with much of the university, my department has had its expenses budget drastically slashed (as I thought, in order to save money). Please can you therefore explain how it is possible that an external visitor has been advised by another department to book his own hotel (which happens to be one of the University’s official supplier hotels) at a cost of £40 more than our corporate cost (then claim this back), as there are not sufficient resources within the department to book this at the cheaper rate. Surely if this happening for just one visitor, then how much money is being ‘wasted’ in this way – and what is the point of making arrangements with ‘approved suppliers’ ie to take advantage of corporate rates, if these are not being utilised.

It is incredulous that we are ‘penny pinching’ on basic things and literally pouring money away in other areas where savings can clearly be made.

ANSWER:

All Faculties and Departments are responsible for managing their budgets and ensuring value for money is obtained. We all have a part to play in this and should remind colleagues of the proper process if we become aware of activities which are not achieving this.

Any specific examples (such as the one being referred to) should be brought to the attention of the Commercial Accounts Team who will follow them up in in their regular meetings with all Faculties and Departments.

Thank you.

Will i-Expenses be evaluated?

QUESTION:
The new i-expenses is very complicated and time consuming (for overseas claims it is taking hours to complete). The various guides in themselves are lengthy and complex, some of the buttons/ options do not work and the system is not at all intuitive. Is there going to be any evaluation of the system?

 
ANSWER:
i-Expenses was introduced in July and is being supported with user guides in addition to face to face training. As with any new system, there is an element of getting used to the system and learning ‘shortcuts’ to simplify the process. These include the ability to duplicate lines and attach bulk volumes of receipts. Financial Services are happy to individually train staff on the entry of more complicated claims and can be contacted through James Bennett on x3358. Finance are unaware of any buttons/options that do not work and would ask that such occurrences are reported to Helen Holt on x3542.

With regards to evaluation of i-expenses, this is planned towards the end of the year when users have had sufficient time to become familiar with the key functions.

With rises in petrol prices will the travel claim amount be raised?

Question:

With the recent rises in petrol prices will the university be reviewing the current 40p per mile we claim back, as this is to pay towards wear and tear on vehicles as well?

Answer:

In the current climate the University will not be considering an upward increase in the mileage rate staff are able to claim back for travel, however this may be reviewed in the future.