Expenses policy

1) Introduction

This paper sets out the Gallery’s policy for reimbursing business expenses incurred by staff. The policy can be found on the staff network.

2) Scope

This policy applies to:

  • all Gallery staff paid via the payroll including permanent, fixed-term, casual and those externally funded; and
  • expense payments to those on secondments of 2 years or less and volunteers

and covers:

  • travel and subsistence, business entertaining, training, mobile ‘phones, gifts and hospitality – whether paid by the member of staff and reimbursed via an official Gallery expenses claim form, charged to a Gallery credit card or paid to a supplier (e.g. Searcys catering, travel agency, hotel, Datacab taxis firm, mobile ‘phone company) and
  • gifts, hospitality, awards and prizes received and made by staff.

The policy does not apply to freelancers who are paid on invoice, since this would potentially designate them as employees to be paid via the payroll under deduction of tax. However mileage allowances and other guidance from this policy may be used to agree in the contract the amount of expenses to be claimed. Freelancers paid by invoice are therefore not required to provide receipts although Budget Managers may request them, in order to minimise the cost of expenses claimed. Freelancers paid by invoice cannot be reimbursed for expenses via a Gallery expense claim form.

The aims of the policy are to:

  • ensure staff and suppliers are reimbursed promptly for expenses incurred; and
  • minimise the risk of the Gallery making incorrect or inappropriate payments and/or incurring employment tax liabilities on such payments.

3) Definitions

Budget-Holder - member of Senior Management Team.

Budget Manager – designated member of a Budget-Holder's staff to whom the management of a budget allocation has been delegated.

Budget signatory - member of staff who is authorised to approve expenditure up to £1,000 within the parameters provided by the Budget-Holder but is not directly responsible for the management of a budget allocation. A budget signatory cannot authorise a claim or invoice for business expenses.

4) Legal Basis

Under the terms of the Gallery’s Management Statement and Financial Memorandum with DCMS, the Director as Accounting Officer must ensure that the Gallery’s financial systems and procedures promote the efficient and economical conduct of business and safeguard financial propriety and regularity throughout the Gallery. The Gallery is also subject to UK tax legislation as interpreted by HM Revenue and Customs. Except where specified in section 5, compliance with the Gallery’s Expenses Policy ensures that members of staff are not liable for the employment taxes potentially payable on expenses claimed.

Regarding the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, it is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1906 and 1916 for any member of staff to make use of their official position by doing or not doing something to further their private interests, or by receiving gifts, hospitality or benefits of any kind from a third party, which might be seen to compromise their personal judgement or integrity. Under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916 the burden of proof rests upon the person receiving the favours. If a member of staff receives money or any kind of gift from a person or organisation holding or seeking a Gallery contract, the courts will regard the gift as corruptly received unless the recipient can prove otherwise.

5) Statement of Principles

General principles

  • The claimant must sign that the expenditure has been wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in performing authorised duties for the Gallery and, to comply with the specific stipulation following the HM Revenue and Customs audit in February 2007, provide a clear explanation of the Gallery’s business being claimed for.
  • Expense claims or invoices for expenses must be authorised by the appropriate Budget Manager or, where a Budget Manager is claiming against his/her own budget, by the departmental Budget-Holder (i.e. a member of the Management Team, who will also be a Budget Manager in his/her own right – see section 3 for definitions). A Budget-Holder can sign for his/herself up to £100; above £100 the claim, invoice etc must be authorised by the Budget-Holder’s line manager i.e. the Director or Chief Curator – if the Director or Chief Curator are not available, the Head of Finance and Planning or Head of Resources may also countersign Budget-Holder’s claims.
  • All expenses apart from mileage claims must be receipted. Exceptions which are reasonable (e.g. in an underdeveloped foreign country) are to be authorised by Head of Finance and Planning, after consultation with HM Revenue and Customs where necessary. Ignorance of the expenses policy will not be an acceptable reason for missing receipts.
  • Claims received without an explanation of the business being claimed for, the correct authorisation and/or receipts will be returned to the claimant unpaid.
  • A copy of an e-mail will be accepted as written authorisation.
  • Expense claims up to £50 can be claimed via petty cash. Above £50 expense claims will be paid via BACS direct credit into the bank account into which the employee’s salary is paid. Cheques will be issued for those not on the payroll e.g. volunteers.


Rail/Ferry/Air Travel

  • Staff should normally travel standard or economy class – in exceptional circumstances staff can travel higher class with the written prior approval of their Budget-Holder (e.g. for long haul travel or working during the journey). Bookings can be made via Seraphina Coffman in the Secretaries Office through the Gallery’s travel agency; however booking via the internet may be cheaper.
  • No reimbursement will be made for any part of a train journey covered by a member of staff’s season ticket. Payment for home to work travel may not be made without the prior approval of the Head of Finance and Planning; such payments are usually taxable and are therefore paid through the payroll, with any tax due charged to the budget code to which the expenses are charged.
  • Oyster card and equivalent travel card payments on Gallery business will be reimbursed on evidence of usage, which can be obtained via the internet; receipts for pre-payment will not be accepted.
  • Volunteers may be reimbursed for their home to work travel, at the discretion of the Budget Manager; such payments are not taxable.
  • Travel in the UK may only be made by air where there is a cost advantage or if urgency justifies any extra cost (the reason should be detailed on the claim/invoice).


  • Use of taxis should be justified on value for money grounds but may take account of urgency, baggage, journey times compared to alternatives and any relevant health and safety requirements (the reason should be detailed on the claim/invoice).
  • Late night taxis home are allowed for those working after 11 p.m. subject to prior approval of the Budget Manager or Budget-Holder. Taxis may also be used by Control Room staff to get from home to work and back home on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, when public transport is not available, subject to the prior approval of the Head of Visitor Services and Security.
  • To minimise delays in paying the supplier, journeys by a Budget Manager up to a total of £20 per month via Datacab do not need counter-signature by the Budget-Holder.
  • Tipping should be limited to the minimum service charge or where it is culturally expected e.g. in the US.
  • The approving signatory endorses that the use of a taxi rather than public transport is reasonable.

Motor Travel – Own Vehicle

  • The use of a member of staff’s own vehicle should be justified on value for money grounds but take account of urgency, baggage, journey times compared to alternatives and any relevant health and safety requirements (the reason should be detailed on the claim).
  • The claimant must confirm his/her vehicle is roadworthy, legally registered, taxed and MOTed and that s/he has valid insurance covering at least occasional business use (as in most car insurance policies) on the claim form and may be asked to provide proof if a frequent user. The Gallery will not pay additional costs of insurance, breakdown or repair.
  • Mileage allowance rates will be in line with HM Revenue and Customs guidance.
    At 1 January 2006:
    Car - 40p per mile for first 10,000 miles, 25p per mile thereafter;
    Passenger payments 5p per first passenger and 1p per additional passengers per mile;
    Motor cycle 24p per mile; and
    Pedal cycle 20p mile.
  • Any home to work car mileage should be deducted from the claim.
  • Tolls, parking fees or congestion charge will be reimbursed but not fines.
  • The approving signatory endorses that the use of a car rather than public transport and that the distance are reasonable.

Motor Travel – Hire Vehicle

  • Where it can be shown to be cost effective, all hiring and running costs will be reimbursed. The car hired should be appropriate to the circumstances (i.e. number of passengers, luggage carried, distance travelled). All drivers must hold a valid driving licence. Full collision damage waiver should be arranged at the time of booking.
  • The approving signatory endorses that the use of a hire car rather than any other form of transport is reasonable.


  • Meals and accommodation will be reimbursed on actual cost.
  • Evening meals - as a guideline staff should not exceed the cost of the cheapest fixed price menu, with a modest drink allowance (e.g. a glass of wine, soft drink or beer). Tipping should be limited to the minimum service charge or where it is culturally expected e.g. in the US.
  • Hotels should be of a standard applicable to the nature of the business to be transacted. As a guideline for business travel, staff should stay in accommodation equivalent of AA 3-Star standard or less.
  • A Personal Incidental Expense Allowance (PIEA) may be claimed to cover items such as a home telephone call, newspaper; at 1 January 2006 this is £5 per night. Claimants should pay such costs on the hotel bill or, if the hotel bill is paid direct by Gallery, these costs should not exceed £5 per night and the PIEA cannot to be claimed in addition.
  • Where a member of staff stays with a friend or relative a small gift (e.g. flowers, paying for dinner), receipted expenses up to £25 per week can be claimed.
  • Normally, there is no reimbursement of ordinary domestic expenses e.g. laundry, family care when staff are away from home on Gallery business. However staff may apply for exceptions to the Head of Personnel. Since such a payment is likely to be deemed a taxable benefit, the Head of Personnel must also decide on and advise the Finance Manager whether the amount is to be paid to the employee via the payroll net of tax or whether settlement of the tax will be made with the HM Revenue and Customs on the employee’s behalf.


  • Staff may apply to Finance for a cash travel advance (Finance can advise on the daily rates appropriate to the countries being visited), with 3 days notice. American dollars and euros are also available (with a week’s notice).
  • A travel claim with receipts to claim or refund any balance due is to be submitted within one month of completion of the trip. Failure to provide this information within one month of completion may lead to further advances being refused.

Travel insurance

Staff travelling on Gallery business are covered by the Gallery’s travel insurance policy and therefore should not make their own arrangements.

The insurance policy covers:

  • travel outside the UK;
  • air travel within the UK; and
  • travel within the UK provided such travel involves an overnight stay

and covers partners and children if they are travelling with the explicit consent of the Gallery.

  • Copies of the policy and emergency contact details can be found on the staff network drive or obtained from Nico Nicholas, the Finance Manager.


All expenditure for training should either:

  • be approved in advance by the Training Manager and charged against the Training budget; or
  • approved by a Budget Manager, countersigned by the Training Manager and charged against the Budget Manager’s budget

Business hospitality given by the Gallery

  • When giving hospitality, staff should have due regard to the principle of public accountability, and ensure that the level of expenditure is appropriate to those being entertained. All hospitality should be incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively in the course of performing authorised duties for the Gallery. Those authorised to give hospitality and the main examples of hospitality provided by the Gallery are to be found in Appendix 2.
  • Hospitality for events involving only staff or a high percentage of staff requires the prior approval of the Head of Personnel or the Director, including team-building and similar events (which should in any case involve the Training and Development Manager). Apart from team-building and training events and the annual Christmas party, tax is payable on all such events but will normally be paid by the Gallery on the behalf of.