New rules for staff expense claims, travel bookings and hospitality bookings

The staff expenses, travel, and hospitality policies are changing from 1 October 2018.  These changes support the University’s non-pay savings initiative, which is aiming to achieve a £4m saving in 2018/19.

The new policies apply to all expenses that are incurred from 1 October, all travel bookings that are made from 1 October and all hospitality bookings that are made from 1 October.


In December 2019 the  SHU Staff Entertaining Guidance Note was agreed which draws from the above policies to provide guidance for Staff Entertaining such Celebration Events, Working lunches and Away Days. A list of venues for Away Days that provide value for money is also available here.

The SHU Card Hospitality Guidance Note issued in January 2020 provides further guidance on the use of SHU cards for Hospitality.

All areas of the staff expenses, travel and hospitality policies will be enforced

Please read the policies and the faqs before incurring expenses or booking travel or hospitality to ensure compliance with the updated policies.

All areas of the staff expenses policy will be enforced and claims must be supported by itemised receipts (except mileage claims).  Any expenses that are incurred/travel that is booked after 1 October 2018 that do not comply with the new policies will not be reimbursed even if claims of a similar nature were reimbursed in the past on an exceptional basis.

Expenses incurred/travel and hospitality booked before 1 October

Expenses incurred before 1 October 2018 and travel bookings that are made before 1 October 2018 will be subject to the previous policies and procedures:

Pre-existing hospitality bookings in Aspect Court and Oneleven for September will be honoured.

Contact us

For queries please contact:

or email ! non-pay initiatives.

Summary of key changes

The list below does not cover everything from the staff expenses, staff travel and hospitality policies.  Please check the full policies before incurring expenses or booking travel/hospitality.

Catering and hospitality

Booking and paying for hospitality

Hospitality will be provided in the following circumstances:

  • meetings or training events with duration of 4 hours+ and where no local facilities are available
  • meetings with external visitors of the University where no local facilities are available or appropriate
  • university recruitment events such as course open days.
  • corporate or profile-raising events

The minimum numbers for delivered hospitality is 10 guests/servings; for more substantive products this is higher.

Where hospitality is required it will be delivered to the following locations:

  • Owen (also serving Surrey, Howard, Norfolk, Harmer)
  • Stoddart
  • Cantor
  • Charles Street
  • Heart of the Campus

Delivered hospitality will no longer be provided to RWB, peripheral Collegiate buildings, Oneleven, Aspect Court, Bryan Nicholson, The Science Park, Arundel Gate Court, Head Post Office, Sheaf, EMB and Adsetts.

There are some exceptions to the above. If you are planning an “event” (defined by a minimum catering spend of £350) in Head Post Office, the Hertha Ayrton STEM Centre, Aspect Court, RWB or Collegiate Hall, the hospitality service will be extended to that location to cover your event.

Staff can organise credit onto a SHUcard or can purchase hospitality vouchers in a range of denominations.  These can be used in any University outlet.  See here for further details.

Purchase cards cannot be used to purchase hospitality on University grounds and purchases will not be reimbursed through staff expenses.

Booking conferencing or banqueting events off-site in the Sheffield area

Budget holders will be expected to make enquiries internally for such activity to establish availability of space and relevant products on campus. This must be done before any spending of SHU finances externally on these activities, which will be possible by exception only.

Catered events in Hallam View

Hallam View will no longer be available as a lunch-time restaurant venue and will now be used for catered events only where there is a minimum catering spend of £250.

External catering

External catering will not be reimbursed through staff expenses.

External catering is defined as the purchase of food and/or drink from a supplier that is external to the University for consumption on University premises. Catering needs should be met by the University’s catering facilities in the first instance.  Where external catering is required it must be purchased by purchase card or by raising a purchase order requisition however please be aware that external catering companies will not be allowed to deliver onto campus.

  • If Catering Services is not able to support your event directly, they will liaise with external providers on your behalf. This is likely to be out of hours, weekends or Bank Holidays.
  • In cases where this applies, all supplier contact will be handled by Catering Services, and the appropriate internal transfer made.

Refreshments for staff meetings

Refreshments purchased in Sheffield either onsite or offsite in relation to any kind of staff only meeting will not be reimbursed through staff expenses unless it is for an event in excess of 4 hours and there are no local facilities available.

Working lunches

Working lunches within University locations are allowed where there are external stakeholders in attendance.  Where possible these should be booked through hospitality.  There should be adequate time to plan for these occasions so there should be no reason for an individual to have to claim through expenses and these will not be reimbursed.

Where there are no external attendees for a meeting, working lunches will not be allowed unless it is for an event in excess of 4 hours and there are no local facilities available.

Gifts and giveaways

Gifts/flowers etc.

Gifts/flowers etc. purchased for members of staff in relation to sickness, leaving the university or special occasions etc. will not be reimbursed through staff expenses. Flowers sent in relation to the funeral of a member of staff or student will be reimbursed.

Giveaways and merchandising

Giveaways and merchandising must be obtained from Marketing and will not be reimbursed through staff expenses.

Publications and subscriptions

Books, periodicals, newspapers, magazines, internet publications

Books, periodicals, newspapers, magazines or internet publications must be purchased by raising a purchase order requisition or by using a purchase card.  These will not be reimbursed through staff expenses.

Corporate subscriptions

Subscriptions will not be reimbursed through staff expenses.

Subscriptions must be purchased by purchase card or by raising a purchase order requisition and must be in the name of the University as a corporate subscription and made available to other staff. 


Air miles and airline points

Air miles/airline points accrued on University business must be declared on request.. Choice of airline decisions must be made on the basis of value-for-money and not personal gain. Choice of airlines will be monitored.

AirBnB or other similar unregulated accommodation

AirBnB or other similar unregulated accommodation will not be paid for or reimbursed by the University.

Airport lounges

Airport lounges can be booked if a pre-identified working requirement exists.  The airport lounge must be booked through the travel management company at the time of the flight booking.

Booking and paying for rail, accommodation and flights

The following elements of travel must be booked through the University’s travel management company, Clarity Travel:

  • UK rail
  • UK accommodation (maximum rates: £90 per night outside of London; £200 per night within Greater London)
  • flights originating in the UK

Staff expense claims for the above will not be reimbursed and payments by purchase card will be rejected and must be reimbursed to the University.

The following should also be booked through Clarity.  If Clarity is unable to make these bookings, the University’s overseas offices should make the bookings instead:

  • flights not originating in the UK
  • overseas accommodation
  • overseas rail

Conferences that include accommodation should also be booked through Clarity wherever possible.

Travel can be booked online using Clarity’s Go2book travel booking system (, by calling Clarity on 0333 014 6096 or emailing

When using Go2book for the first time please enter your SHU email address and press ‘recover password’.   You will receive an email with instructions about how to set up your account.  Guidance about how to use the system can be found in the user guide and online videos.

Extra legroom

Extra legroom on economy class flights can be booked through Clarity with the budget holder’s pre-authorisation.

First class, business class and premium economy flights

The default assumption is that travel will be by economy or standard class.

The University recognises its commitment to staff well-being, especially when travel is complex or long-distance and the policy allows for other classes of travel in particular circumstances which are detailed below.




Economy Premium Economy / Business Class
Authorisation by budget holder Authorisation by ULT member
Flights  below seven hours Mandatory Not permitted
Exceptional personal circumstances where applicable including pre-existing medical conditions Default Permitted only with authorisation by ULT member.

Premium economy will always be considered before business class

Flight over 7 hours and no rest period possible
More than 10 hours of flight in one (multi-leg) trip
More than 2 trips in any 30 day period
Directly paid by a 3rd party As per 3rd party policy
Personal choice/option (for process see travel procedures) Permitted Paid by individual

All non-economy flights must be approved by the relevant ULT member. No member of ULT will be able to sign off their own non-economy arrangements, these must be authorised by the VC, CFPO or Chief Operating Officer.

Late night taxis between University sites and home

Late night taxis between University sites and home may be claimed through staff expenses if all conditions below are met and where booked through one of the University’s approved suppliers:

  • the member of staff is required to work later than usual to attend a specific event/meeting and until at least 9pm
  • the late working occurs irregularly
  • by the time the member of staff finishes work either public transport has ceased or it would not be reasonable to expect the staff member to use public transport
  • the member of staff received the budget holder’s approval before the expenditure was incurred

Mileage between University sites

The number of miles that can be claimed between University sites has been calculated and should be claimed as follows:

One way (miles) City campus Collegiate campus Bawtry Road Sports Park Olympic Legacy Park
City campus 1.5 8 3
Collegiate campus 1.5 10 4
Bawtry Road Sports Park 8 10 2.5
Olympic Legacy Park 3 4 2.5

Parking claims for late finishes at staff member’s normal place of work

All car parking claims must be supported by a valid parking ticket or receipt. Car parking costs at the staff member’s normal place of work will only be reimbursed in conjunction with business-related travel that has commenced or ended outside the normal working day. Parking claims for late finishes at the staff member’s normal place of work will not be reimbursed.

Personal days allowance when travelling on business

A maximum of 3 personal days may be taken prior to, during or at the end of a business trip. This was previously 50% of the business days (max. 6 personal days).

Staff staying in Sheffield accommodation

Accommodation in Sheffield can be booked by staff whose normal place of work is Sheffield if there is an exceptionally agreed reason for a particular business need.  This will be treated as a taxable benefit which could mean there is an additional cost to the University.



Purchases of stationery by members of staff (including home printing) will not be reimbursed through staff expenses.

The University has a National University Framework in place for stationery which must be adhered to.


The purchase of uniforms or clothing by members of staff will not be reimbursed through staff expenses.  These must be purchased by raising a purchase order requisition.