Travel Procedure

Document Number000787
Date Approved30 August 2006
Date Last Amended20 March 2012
          

Contents

Responsibilities of Travellers and Travel Arrangers

Domestic Travel Procedures

International Travel Procedures

Accommodation

Ground Transportation

Entertainment

Traveller Health & Safety and Duty of Care

Travel Insurance

Payment for & Acquittal of Travel Expenses

Travel Diaries

Associated Personal / Private Travel

Accompanying Spouse, Partner & Dependant Travel

Duration & Timing of Travel

Travelling by Members of SEG

Charter/Private Aircraft Use

Staying with Friends and Family

Passport/Visa Requirements

Health Requirements

1.      Context

This procedure supports the implementation of the University’s Travel Policy and must be read in conjunction with that document and the documents listed as Essential Supporting Documents below.

2.      Relevant Definitions

In this policy:

authorising officer means the officer with the authority under the delegations policy to provide approval;

best fare of the day means the lowest available fare on the day of booking that offers the traveller the convenience and flexibility he/she requires to complete the business purpose effectively.

contracted supplier   means the University’s sole contracted Travel Management Company (TMC). The University’s current TMC is listed in Schedule 1

expense management system  means the online expense management system utilised to request, approve and acquit travel and to claim reimbursement of  miscellaneous travel costs . The University’s EMS is the Spendvision system.

high risk country means any country to which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advisories warn travellers to “reconsider” or “advise not to” travel.

restricted area means any area with a DFAT travel advisory level of 3 or 4.

SAM system means the online travel system used by the University and provided by its contracted TMC

self booking tool (SBT) means web-based software that enables users to perform the domestic travel booking process themselves.

Spendvision system means the University’s online expense management system.

travel booker/travel arranger means the person organising travel on behalf of the University traveller;

University business means work undertaken on behalf of the University for purposes directly associated with the functions of the University.

University purchasing card means the University sponsored credit card

University traveller means anyone who travels on behalf of the University of Newcastle, on pre-approved University business, booked or arranged by the University, including, but not limited to:

  1. staff - including casuals;
  2. persons accompanying staff who are representing or engaged in University business eg SSP;
  3. associates, including members of Council;
  4. consultants and contractors; 
  5. students;
  6. conjoint appointees travelling on University business funded (partially or in  full) by University funds; and
  7. other persons and/or visitors whose travel is associated with and paid by the University.     

virtual card means a University purchasing card held in one person’s name, but for general use in an associated group eg school, portfolio, faculty or division.

3.      Responsibilities of Travellers and Travel Arrangers

3.1.     Traveller Profile

All University staff who intend to travel must: (i) complete (or arrange to have completed)  a Traveller Profile and return this to STA Travel for input into SAM; and  (ii) ensure that at all times all details contained within their profile are current.

3.2.     Purchasing Card

University staff who travel domestically more than two times per year or who travel internationally, are required to hold a University purchasing card. Details at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/purchasing-cards/



 

3.3.     Pre-approval

University staff who travel must seek pre-approval of travel – whether domestic or international – prior to booking. Details for pre-approval are provided below under domestic and international travel procedures.

3.4.     Approval

All travel must be approved by an authorised officer. In seeking or granting approval, the traveller or authorising officer must ensure that:

  1. the travel is not to a restricted area;
  2. the absence is convenient to the department/unit;
  3. the travel duration limitations are satisfied (cf Section 3.11 below);
  4. the travel is for official University business;
  5. the cost to the University is minimised;
  6. the travel is booked through the University’s Travel Management Company (TMC); and
  7. all relevant costs associated with international travel are fully captured on the travel request.

3.5.     Replacement arrangements

University staff members who are requesting travel approval must ensure that arrangements are made to cover their teaching, examining and administrative duties during the approved period of travel.

3.6.     Use of contracted supplier

All travellers or travel arrangers must source quotations and make bookings through the University’s contracted Travel Management Company via the online travel systemat: https://www.trobexis.com/uonprd/

4.      Domestic Travel Procedures

4.1.     Pre-Approval

Domestic travellers must have pre-approval from their authorising officer (refer Delegation of Authority Policy) – either verbally or in writing - for the nature, need, duration and timing of their trip prior to submitting their travel booking in the SAM system Self Booking Tool.

They are not, however, required to gain pre-approval through the University’s expense management system (Spendvision). This provision is designed to allow travellers to take maximum advantage of the discount internet airfares available on certain airlines.

4.2.     Booking Procedure

  1. All domestic travel (other than Brindabella flights) must be booked by the traveller or travel arranger via the  SAM system Self Booking Tool i.e. without the intervention of consultants from the TMC.
  2. All Brindabella flights must be booked through the STA Travel Office - not via the self-booking tool. This will ensure the cheapest fare.
  3. Where the domestic journey is part of an international travel booking, the processes described for international travel must be used. 
    Procedure
  4. The traveller/travel arranger will:
    1. log onto the TMC’s online Self Booking Tool to book flights;
    2. complete the booking process as directed, and
    3. ensure that the separate mandatory reference field - indicating that pre-approval has been obtained - is completed.
  5. The TMC will:
    1. issue the ticket, generate an itinerary and tax invoice and forward to the travel booker;
  6. The traveller/travel arranger will:
    1. code the travel expense; and
    2. submit the expense in the SpendVision (EMS) system for approval by the appropriate supervisor.

4.3.     Changing a Domestic Booking

  1. Changes to domestic bookings, prior to ticketing should be made in the Self Booking Tool. An additional charge is likely.
  2. Changes to bookings once a ticket has been issued must be made through the TMC because of ticketing rules and restrictions. Additional charges are likely to apply.

5.      International Travel Procedures

5.1.     Pre-Approval

All international travel paid for by the University should be requested and approved via the online expense management system - Spendvision. Authority to approve international travel rests with PVCs or DVCs. Pre-approval may be based on an estimate of cost (obtained from the TMC) rather than on a precise costing, where airline ticketing deadlines are a factor.

5.2.     Preferred Booking Procedure

  1. staff will enter the details of the proposed travel - including. indicative costs – in Spendvision for pre-approval by the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Pro Vice-Chancellor:
    1. newcastleedu@branch.statravel.com.au (Appointments may be made to talk with a travel advisor - telephone 4921 6008 or email).
    2. the TMC will reply via email with options for the traveller to consider;
    3. the traveller will select their preferred option and send this with the Spendvision pre-approval to the TMC;
    4. the TMC will hold this authority on file, make the appropriate bookings and issue the ticket - as close as possible to the date of travel to avoid penalties which can be incurred when changes are made after ticketing.
  2. Staff who wish to hold a seat/booking before pre-approval has been obtained can do so by:
    1. completing the online travel request form  and
    2. calling or emailing the TMC with their requirements. A ticket will not however, be issued or a charge made to a corporate purchasing card until a pre-approval authority is passed from Spendvision to the TMC. Note: approval may be required within 24 hours to meet airline ticketing deadlines on some fare types.
  3. In the event of complex, multi-sector or urgent travel requirements, travellers can contact a TMC consultant directly to discuss their needs and book their travel rather than first entering their travel details in the online international travel request form. Appointments with a consultant from the TMC can be made by phoning 02 4921 6008 or emailing: newcastleedu@branch.statravel.com.au
  4. If for some reason the travel arrangements are booked through another travel provider, details of the travel must be sent to STA Travel to meet "duty of care" responsibilities.

6.      Accommodation

6.1.     Use of the TMC

University travellers must, wherever possible, use the University’s TMC to book all accommodation

6.2.     Booking Guidelines

In booking accommodation the following guidelines apply:

  1. the standard of accommodation should provide a safe and secure environment, be convenient to the place of work, and provide value for money (University Travel Policy)
  2. hotels are selected on the basis of the lowest pricing available and not on hotel/air frequent guest memberships;
  3. in the case of domestic accommodation the maximum rate charged is the government rate where this is available;
  4. the price falls within the Room Night limits of $500 per night excl GST for VIPs/SEG and $220 per night excl GST for all other staff;
  5. the standard of accommodation  is 3-4 star level unless a cheaper or equivalent price at a 5+ star hotel is offered by the TMC or in conjunction with a conference.  Note: for international accommodation, it is recognised that hotel facilities are less developed in some countries and areas and/or there are safety concerns, which require a higher standard of accommodation.

6.3.     Accommodation Options

6.3.1.       Online reservation systems

The TMC will access a range of online reservation systems/distribution channels for booking accommodation. Travellers or travel arrangers can search these systems for possible options but must email a request to the TMC who will make the reservation.

6.3.2.       Specified accommodation

The TMC will - if requested by University travellers - contact and book accommodation at specific hotels that do not participate in the distribution channels.

6.3.3.       Conference accommodation

  1. University travellers attending conferences are required to compare the special conference rate with the rates available through the TMC.
  2. If the TMC can provide a cheaper rate at the same hotel then the traveller is required to take this rate.  Where accommodation is booked outside the TMC, the traveller will be required to provide justification

6.4.     Payment Options

  1. Payment for all accommodation should wherever possible be made with the University purchasing card.
  2. Prepayment of accommodation should where possible, be limited to circumstances where individuals do not have their own University purchasing card.
  3. Staff with a University purchasing card must make payment directly to the hotel, upon check-in/check-out, using their individual University purchasing card.
  4. Staff who do NOT have their own University purchasing card must fax a nominated staff member’s purchasing card details to the hotel to cover all accommodation and accommodation related costs during the proposed stay.

Note: The credit card details recorded in the system when making bookings are generally used only for room guarantee purposes. Payment will normally be made using the virtual or individual University purchasing card at the time of travel.

6.5.     Using alternative accommodation

Where accommodation at a particular destination is not booked through the TMC or where approval has been given to select accommodation independently of the TMC, travellers must ensure that they advise the TMC of their arrangements so that their details can be recorded for duty of care purposes.

7.      Ground Transportation

7.1.     Car/Vehicle Rental

  1. The University does not currently have a contracted relationship with a hire car company. 
  2. University travellers should use: Hertz, Avis, Thrifty or Europcar and seek the government rates offered by these providers.
  3. Payment should be made using the University purchasing card.
  4. Travellers or travel arrangers can use the e3 system to book car hire. The e3 system will however, only effectively book car hire rentals which involve picking up and returning from the same airport location.  One way rentals, or rentals dropped off at a University Campus should be booked directly with the provider or through the TMC.
  5. The TMC will, where required, arrange car hire for reservations with special requests eg bookings over 30 days, or one way rentals.
  6. Travellers should generally book a standard sedan unless:
    1. cars in that category are unavailable; and/or
    2. there is a business related reason not to do so; and/or
    3. there are last minute specials or free upgrades available. 

7.2.     Insurance on Car/Vehicle Rental

  1. agreements University travellers are to arrange purchase of insurance offered by the rental organization for damage and theft.
  2. Reimbursement for excess payments made following an accident  ay be recovered under the University’s insurance program subject to the provisions of the relevant insurance policies.

7.3.     Use of Private Vehicles

  1. The use of a private vehicle is to be a last resort (University Travel Policy).
  2. Staff seeking to use a private vehicle must obtain pre-approval prior to the travel through the University’s online expense management system (Spendvision)
  3. Approval for the use of a private vehicle on official business is not to be assumed and no expenses should be incurred prior to obtaining approval.
  4. Reimbursement of private motor vehicle expenses will not be approved if the use of the vehicle has not been approved.
  5. Consideration will be given to requests to use private vehicles on official business in circumstances where University vehicles are available, only if: (i) there is need for an early morning departure; or (ii) it is unduly inconvenient to take delivery of a University vehicle.
  6. University travellers who have approval to use their own private motor vehicle on University business are entitled to claim Motor Vehicle Usage Allowance Rates through the University’s online expense management system (Spendvision).
  7. The traveller is responsible for his/her private motor vehicle insurance as the University does not cover damage or theft of a private vehicle. 

7.4.     Taxis

  1. Travellers should use the University purchasing card wherever possible to pay for taxis. 

7.5.     Rail Travel

  1. University travellers may travel first class on domestic travel.
  2. University travellers should generally travel economy class on international rail except in a third world country where they have obtained clearance from their PVC/DVC to travel first class on the basis of safety concerns.

8.      Entertainment

Travellers needing to offer entertainment costing more than $500 must seek pre-approval prior to travel from the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor through the University’s expense management system.

9.      Traveller Health & Safety and Duty of Care

9.1.     Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) Travel Advice

  1. See www.smartraveller.gov.au/ for any travel advisories or warnings that apply to intended travel destinations.
  2. DFAT advisories fall into four broad categories -

    1) Exercise normal safety precautions

    2) Exercise a high degree of caution

    3) Reconsider your need to travel

    4) Do not travel.

    Employees wishing to travel to any destination noted as a medium to high risk or above, ie category 3 or 4, must obtain the express permission of the Vice-Chancellor or a Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

9.2.     Traveller Whereabouts

  1. En route tracking systems allow the University’s contracted TMC to contact travellers quickly in the event of local or global emergencies. This is a primary reason for the University’s requiring all travel to be booked through the contracted TMC.
  2. Where bookings are made independently of the TMC, travellers must advise the TMC prior to travel so that details can be entered into the TMC's booking system and the traveller's whereabouts noted in case of an emergency.
  3. Travellers are expected to advise the TMC of all changes to their itineraries, so that records are current at all times.
  4. Travellers are also asked to provide a mobile phone number in their Travel Profile.  The TMC will contact this number in the event of an emergency to check the traveller’s safety and wellbeing. An email will also be sent to all travellers in such circumstances.

9.3.     Emergency Situations

  1. If a University traveller is stranded or caught in a dangerous situation they should (i) contact the Emergency Assistance Service using the reverse charges number provided on their travel itinerry; or (ii) contact the TMC or the University’s Financial Services, Insurance area.
  2. Where contact is not possible due to unworkable or cancelled communications, the traveller should locate the nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate for assistance.
  3. Travellers are encouraged to copy important documents such as their passport, itinerary, hotel contact details, and confirmation of airline tickets and to carry them in a different bag from the originals.

Further details are available at: www.smartraveller.gov.au/

10.      Travel Insurance

10.1.     University Insurance

The University's Personal Accident policy provides travel insurance for staff and students travelling on official University business. Note that travel associated with Special Studies Programs (SSP) is included in this insurance cover.

10.2.     Insurance Information

  1. http://www.newcastle.edu.au/unit/rcs/rmu/insurance/policies/travel.html. 
    Details of travel arranged through the TMC are automatically advised to the University's insurance area.
  2. If travel has not been booked through the TMC, University travellers must contact Financial Services, Insurance, to obtain the relevant insurance information.
  3. This advice ensures that insurance information can be provided to the traveller.
  4. Note: All travel insurance is null and void if University travellers are using tickets issued in someone else's name.  University travellers should not fly on any ticket other than the one issued in their correct name as it appears in their passport.

10.3.     Domestic Travel - Insurance Cover

  1. Staff on approved domestic travel are covered during work hours for accidents/incidents under Workers Compensation, Personal Accident/Injury and Motor Vehicle Insurance where applicable.
  2. Additionally, staff on approved domestic travel are covered outside work hours for accidents/incidents under the University’s Personal Accident Policy.
  3. Students on approved domestic travel are covered for accidents/incidents.

10.4.     International Travel – Insurance Cover

  1. The University's general insurance policy provides travel insurance for staff and students travelling overseas on official University business.
  2. Staff are also covered during work hours for accidents/incidents under Workers Compensation.
  3. Overseas travel associated with Special Studies Programs (SSP) is included in this insurance cover.

10.5.     Insurance Cover for Partners etc

  1. The University’s travel insurance will generally only be made available to accompanying spouses, partners or dependents when the University has funded the travel of that person.
  2. Spouses, partners or dependants accompanying University staff on SSP will be covered.
  3. In these instances the staff member of the accompanying person should contact Financial Services, Insurance to obtain the relevant insurance information.

10.6.     Private Travel

Insurance cover is currently also provided by the University’s insurance policy for private travel in conjunction with official University business, as follows:

Employees

Up to 4 weeks

Employees on Special Study Leave (SSP) and accompanying  partners/family members

Up to 4 weeks

 Persons associated with the University

Up to 4 weeks

 

11.      Payment for & Acquittal of Travel Related Expenses

11.1.     University Purchasing Cards

Where possible, payment and acquittal for all travel services are to be made via the corporate purchasing card through the University’s contracted Travel Management Company.

Refer: Purchasing Card Procedure

11.2.     Reimbursements

  1. All claims for reimbursement by staff must be submitted on the University’s online expense management system (Spendvision).
  2. Non-staff are to use the Student and Visitor Reimbursement Claim Form at 
    http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/revenue-accounts-payable/refunds-reimbursements.html#students
  3. All expenses incurred on a credit card, as part of a cash advance, or by the individual and claimed via staff reimbursement, must be substantiated. 
  4. Where actual receipts are not provided or made available, the traveller should ensure the expense is substantiated by making a travel dairy notation or travel declaration.

11.3.     Acquittable Cash Advance

Refer Acquittable Cash Advance Procedure for details regarding access to and management of Cash Advances.

11.4.     Companion Cards

All expenses incurred on Companion cards - Credit cards providing for direct access to ATM cash withdrawals - are to be fully acquitted within one month of return from the relevant trip.

11.5.     Travel Inconvenience Allowance

Refer Travel Inconvenience Allowance Procedure for details of accessing and managing the Travel Inconvenience Allowance.

12.      Travel Diaries

Travellers are to use the University’s approved Travel Diary for the purpose of maintaining records of all international journeys and of domestic journeys of more than five days duration. Refer: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/travel/forms.html

13.      Associated Personal/Private Travel

  1. Personal or private travel on non-University business may be permitted in conjunction with pre-approved business travel provided: (i) the purpose of the travel is properly documented prior to travel; (ii) the University is acknowledged as only responsible for the business portion of the trip; and (iii) the absence is convenient to the organisational unit.
  2. University staff members must use some form of leave: annual, long service or leave without pay, to cover periods of absence that are not specifically required to conduct University business. This does not apply to periods between authorised travel, when it is impractical to return to normal duties.
  3. Employees wishing to take annual or other leave during, or at the conclusion of business travel must obtain the appropriate permission from the relevant authority before making arrangements. If permission is granted, any additional costs are at the traveller’s own expense. Travellers must pay separately for the personal/private travel component of a trip and its associated costs. These costs must not under any circumstances be charged to the University.
  4. In determining whether a particular day is business related or private, travellers should consider the following question: “If I were travelling solely for University business, when would I leave and when would I return?” Days outside this timeframe should be seen as personal travel.
  5. For convenience, staff members can utilise the  TMC for booking the personal travel portion of their trip in conjunction with pre-approved business travel. If choosing to do this they will pay for this using a personal (ie non-University) credit card.
  6. Staff members must at all times utilise the University’s contracted TMC for all business related travel.

14.      Accompanying Spouse, Partner and Dependant Travel

  1. Where a spouse, partner or dependant accompanies them on official University travel, the traveller must:
    1. notify their authorising officer prior to travel; and
    2. ensure that the business of the University of Newcastle is not compromised.
  1. The University will not generally fund any cost incurred for an accompanying spouse, partner, or dependant.
  2. In special circumstances (including SSP) the University will fund travel for a spouse, partner and dependents if:
    1. it is approved in writing by the Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellors; and
    2. it is appropriate in terms of policy at the time.
  3. For convenience, travel arrangements (including insurance) for a staff member’s spouse, partner, and/or dependants can be booked through the TMC in conjunction with the business travel of the staff member. These must however be paid for separately using a personal (non-University) credit card unless special circumstances (as referred to above) have been approved.

15.      Duration and Timing of Travel

  1. Travel will only be approved when convenient to the School/Unit and for the following maximum periods:
    1. during teaching periods (including examination periods) – generally a maximum of 2 weeks per trip (Note: research-only academics are exempted);
    2. outside teaching periods – generally a maximum of 4 weeks per trip;
    3. annually (each calendar year) – generally a maximum of 10 weeks;
    4. SSP – as agreed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor.
  2. These timeframes may be exceeded in special circumstances with the prior approval of the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors or Pro Vice-Chancellors as appropriate. 

16.      Travelling by Members of EC

To minimise disruptions to the University’s ongoing operations and to reduce the risk of multiple absences, no more than three members of the Executive Committee should travel in the same craft/vehicle at the same time. Travel organisers should make appropriate arrangements.

17.      Charter/Private Aircraft Use

  1. When chartering an aircraft is the only logical method of travel to and from regional and/or remote locations, travellers must utilise The University’s contracted TMC to arrange for the most appropriate aircraft and schedule.
  2. Approval to charter aircraft must be obtained from the Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellors prior to booking and must be advised to the University’s Risk and Insurance officer.
  3. Single-engine aircraft are not to be used at any time without the approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors or Vice-Chancellor.
  4. Should expected charter costs exceed $10,000 then authorisation from the Chief Financial Officer is also required.
  5. Appropriate insurance must be arranged prior to departure via Financial Services, Insurance.
  1. All standard safety and security procedures should be adopted when travelling to remote or dangerous locations.

18.      Staying With Friends and Family

  1. The University recognises that there are times when staying with family or friends is a preferred option for travellers on University business.  This is acceptable and encouraged by the University provided that overall work performance is not affected by any discomfort or inconvenience created by the home visit.
  2. It is also acceptable in these circumstances to take hosts to dinner provided the amount claimed for part or all of the meal is reasonable.
  3. Staff should ensure that for Duty of Care reasons, the TMC is advised of their accommodation details.

19.      Passport/ Visa Requirements

  1. It is the responsibility of University travellers to ensure that they possess a valid passport (minimum validity of six months is preferred at all times) and appropriate visas, and that they comply with any other relevant immigration requirements, before embarking on official travel.
  2. The TMC can facilitate the application for Visas.
  3. The University will meet the cost of a passport and visa where they are required for work purposes. 

20.      Health Requirements

  1. It is the responsibility of University travellers to ensure that they have the required inoculations when travelling on official University business.  The World Health Organisation provides information on medical requirements.
  2. The University will meet the cost for inoculations where they are required for business purposes.
    General health information is available on the DFAT website: www.smartraveller.gov.au/ or via the World Health Organisation site www.who.int/ith

21.      Essential Supporting Documents

Travel - Policy 000782  

Travel Payments - Schedule 000783 

Travel Inconvenience Allowance - Procedure 000788  

Aquittable Cash Advance Procedure -000789  

Companion Card - Procedure 000790  

Spendvision 

22.      Related Documents

Visa Purchasing Card - Policy and Procedures - Procedure 000495 

Delegation of Authority - Policy 000083 

Petty Cash - Policy 000493 

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved30 August 2006
Date Last Amended20 March 2012
Date for Review31 December 2012
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Services)
Policy OwnerDirector, Corporate Services
Policy ContactCommercial Relationship Manager (Travel)
Amendment History

Updated travel advisory ratings from 5 to 4 in line with DFAT changes, amended in definition of restriced area and in Clause 9.1. Approved Director Corporate Services 20 March 2012, amended G&P 23 May 2012

Amended Policy Owner 24 March 2010

Minor amendments - update Cl 3.6 link to contracted supplier; correction typos and hyperlinks 23/2/2010