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Generally, private vehicles should only be used where it is impractical to use other methods of transport or where use of a car is more cost-effective. When assessing cost-effectiveness please consider in addition to the direct cost aspects such as:

  • the total travel time
  • any associated subsistence costs
  • additional charges such as parking, tolls, taxis to and from stations
  • materials to be carried
  • numbers travelling
  • any safety issues, e.g. if travelling late at night, long drive


Vehicle insurance


Where an employee were uses their own vehicle (car, van or motorcycle) for travel on University business their insurance policy must allow for 'business use'.

This is because if employees were travelling on University business and were involved in an accident, the University could retain some liability as they were using the vehicle on our behalf. As they are 'at work' the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 applies. In practice, this means that the University may be held partially liable for any accident, if it can be shown it has not checked these vehicles.

Without the appropriate insurance cover employees are not allowed to use their vehicle on University business or to reclaim mileage for business trips. The mileage rate paid already includes an element towards insurance costs.


Heads of Department or authorised signatories are required to check, on at least an annual employees' vehicles are insured for business use and employees should make a declaration stating:

'I confirm that my vehicle remains insured for business use, is roadworthy, fit for its purpose and continues to have a current MOT certificate'

Mileage allowances


The University will pay a mileage allowance where an employee uses their vehicle for business travel, they are adequately insured and it is the most cost-effective means of travel taking time and other considerations into account. If however the employee chooses to travel by their vehicle when a more cost-effective method is available, the mileage claim is restricted to the cost that would have been incurred if using the most cost-effective option. When comparing against rail travel we use the cost of second class rail fare.

For example:
Travel to Bristol by car - 188 miles at 45p = £84.60
Travel to Bristol by Train - second class fare = £57.50
Therefore, only £57.50 would be reimbursed.


Claims for mileage during business journeys should be made on an expense claim form and adequate mileage records should be maintained to support them. These mileage records should also show the cumulative mileage in the tax year (i.e. the year ending the 5th April) as there are two rates of mileage allowance. If within any tax year, an employee reaches 10,000 business miles, they are then only entitled to reclaim the lower mileage rate.

Mileage rates are reviewed on an annual basis and details of the current rates can be found on the Finance Division's web site. Details of the mileage that can be claimed in specific scenarios are given below.


Travelling direct from home

A business journey is one that involves travel from one place of work to another. If the employee travels direct from home, the mileage should be the lower of:

  • the mileage actually incurred or
  • the mileage which would have been incurred if the journey had started and finished at the normal place of work.


Travelling to an alternative work venue

If an employee travels to an alternative work place, e.g. to attend a meeting or course, to work for a short time then they claim mileage, subsistence and where necessary, overnight accommodation. They should take the most cost effective route and providing the correct procedures for claiming are followed, these costs will be reimbursed and do not need to be reported on the annual P11D return.


Travel from home to normal place of work (ordinary commuting)

The University will not normally reimburse the cost of ordinary commuting. The only exceptions are:


Assistant staff performing authorised overtime may claim mileage from home to work where they make additional journeys, e.g. come in on a Saturday when they normally work Monday to Friday. This should be claimed by completing a Payroll form CHRIS82.

Emergency alarm or call-outs etc Where key holders etc are called out in response to an emergency their mileage from home may be reimbursed via a payroll form CHRIS82.
Employees travelling with a permanent disability The University's policy is to assist with the cost of between home and work for severely and disabled persons incapable of using public transport because of their disability.

None of the above scenarios are classed as being "business journeys" and therefore the employee does not need to have a business user clause on their motor insurance policy to claim the mileage.

Additional passengers

Although, the University encourages the use of car sharing if business trips are to be made by car it does not make any additional payments to employees who carry additional passengers.

From 1 Feb  2022:  the Finance Committee has approved the payment of 5p per passenger per mile 


Tax Implications
Mileage for 'business journeys'
Included in the University dispensation and do not need to be reported on the P11D form.
Overtime mileage and emergency call-outs Will be subject to both tax and NI which will be deducted by payroll before payment. Therefore, will not need to be included again on the P11D.
Commuting for employees with disability This is not classed as a taxable benefit and does not need to be reported on the P11D.

If any other payments are made for ordinary commuting, or payments in respect of spouse or family, then these MUST be reported. If the payment is to be made directly to the individual then it will need to go through Payroll on a CHRIS82 form. Whereas, if a payment is made to a third party to cover the expense then it will need to be included on a P11D form.


Page updated 16-Mar-22

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