Expenses & Payments Policy
MWSD-POL-02, December 2022
As a movement the Scout Association, including Mersey Weaver Scout District (MWSD), recognises that adults, not only give freely of their time but also incur costs and expenses as part of their commitment to Scouting.
MWSD considers it important to make financial provision to meet the reasonable costs incurred by people as part of their work in support of district activities and operations. The general principle is to ensure that cost is not a barrier to the effective execution of an appointment and individuals are not left out of pocket because of their volunteering or role. This policy details the process and procedures for the recovery of such expenses. This policy only covers expenses incurred on behalf of Mersey Weaver District. Any expenses incurred on behalf of Group or County activities will be subject to their own policy and process.
In addition, it is recognised that the execution of projects and activities, as well as the maintenance of Mersey Weaver Assets will incur costs for services and goods from third parties. This policy also addresses the process for the approval and payment of expenditure.
What are reasonable Expenses?
MWSD will settle claims for reasonable expenses for the items below:
- Travel costs
- Accommodation and subsistence while travelling
- Contribution to telephone costs
- Photocopying or printing of items for district activities
- Basic stationery (envelopes/paper)
Reasonable expenses for other items may be considered but it is essential that agreement is obtained from the Board of Trustees in advance.
It is expected that volunteers will often have to travel by car to deliver Scout activities or visit Activity Centres to perform maintenance.
- The Board of Trustees have agreed a mileage rate at the approved HMRC travel rates for cars and motorcycles which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rates-and-allowances-travel-mileage-and-fuel-allowances/travel-mileage-and-fuel-rates-and-allowances
- Car sharing is encouraged whenever possible. Where this does take place, then the passenger rate as defined by HMRC can be paid to the car driver.
- When towing the Mobile Climbing Wall, the Board of Trustees have agreed a mileage rate of £0.50 per mile due to higher fuel usage and increased wear on the vehicle.
- It is recognised that when performing duties on behalf of Mersey Weaver, volunteers may incur costs when parking or travelling over bridges or toll roads. This can be claimed back on production of a ticket or receipt.
- Mileage claims should state the event, starting and finishing points, distance travelled and the date of the journey. Please try and include post codes where possible.
Public Transport (Rail, Bus, Tram, Underground)
It is expected that from time-to-time District Team members may need to travel to attend events such as conferences, training, or meetings outside of the District and may incur costs travelling by public transport especially when this is cheaper or deemed more environmentally friendly than driving. Also, in the case of District Team Members who are studying at university, costs may be incurred travelling back to Mersey Weaver to perform their role. In both cases it is acceptable to claim for travel.
- When booking/purchasing tickets the most cost-effective options should be considered. This includes web bookings/purchases, booking as early in advance as possible and travelling off-peak as these will usually result in price savings. Mersey Weaver will only reimburse for standard class travel. No premium/first class travel will be reimbursed.
- If a journey is cancelled or delayed by enough time to allow a ‘delay repay’ cash payment from the operator, this should be considered, and an expense claim submitted for any balance of an out-of-pocket claim, not the full amount of the ticket.
Taxi use should be kept to an absolute minimum and preauthorised with your line manager. Where alternative, more economic forms of public transport are available then these should be used subject to time of day (your safety is a consideration) and a reasonable journey length. You must ask the driver for a receipt to be provided with your claim.
For certain trips where it is the only method possible or the most economic option, Air Travel will be reimbursed. However, any flight must be approved by the either District Chair or Lead Volunteer and the Treasurer in advance of purchasing a ticket.
In the case of camps and residential experiences, it is the expectation of the Mersey Weaver Board of Trustees that the cost of a leader’s attendance is built into the event and paid for by central/unit/event funds and therefore volunteers should not be out of pocket. However, it is also anticipated that from time-to-time District Team members may need to travel to attend events such as conferences, training, or meetings outside of the District and therefore may incur accommodation costs:
- Where an individual is required to travel to attend a meeting or event and that requires the individual to leave home before 7am to arrive both in good time and refreshed, then the individual is encouraged to travel the night before and stay in a hotel close to the venue. Where travel does commence before 7am, the traveller should have a break in travel for refreshment / breakfast that will be reimbursed.
- Where the individual will be travelling home and the meeting or event ends at such a time that the journey home would mean not arriving home until very late in the evening, beyond 10pm, then the individual may stay overnight in a hotel and travel home the following day, claiming any expenses incurred.
- Accommodation with ‘en-suite’ facilities in up to three-star hotels close to the venue is appropriate, but where these cannot be obtained, a four-star hotel will be accepted. When deciding upon the chosen venue, travel to and from the meeting/event venue must be considered as well as any requirements for health and disability.
- Laundry expenses will only be reimbursed for trips longer than 7 nights.
- Incidental items e.g., items from a mini bar, newspapers and in-house movie hire will not be reimbursed.
In the case of camps and residential experiences, it is the expectation of the Mersey Weaver Board of Trustees that the cost of a leader’s attendance is built into the event and paid for by central/unit/event funds and therefore volunteers should not be expected to pay for this out of their own pocket. However, it is also expected that from time-to-time District Team members may need to travel to attend events such as conferences, training, or meetings outside of the District and therefore they may need to incur costs for food.
- The maximum cost all meals must not exceed £60 per diem. All claims to be supported by a receipt, credit card slips alone are not sufficient.
- Alcoholic drinks cannot be claimed as part of or instead of a meal.
- Where two or more volunteers are in attendance for a meal, the most senior should incur the expense to avoid conflict of interest (i.e. if a volunteer and their immediate Manager dine together the Manager must pay and claim). Their claim should then be approved in the usual manner.
For Team members requiring a uniform to perform the responsibilities of their role, a limited number of uniform items may be claimed.
- On appointment (where a volunteer does not already have an item): one item each of smart shirt or blouse; activity or smart trousers or skirt; necker, woggle, belt; and a set of badges (World badge, District badge, and Name badge). Where available, items must be purchased from the Mersey Weaver Scout Store. Rather than Volunteers being temporarily out of pocket and claiming the money back, they can pay using a project code relevant to the role / team they are part of.
- Periodically, after agreement with their line manager (or if a uniform design is changed) a team member can reclaim for a new set of uniform.
Annual Expenses Budgeting
The Mersey Weaver Board of Trustees will make a provision as part of its annual budgeting process for such general expenses and review the mileage rates.
Specific planned activities such as district camps, events, skills days must be subject to formal budgeting as part of the yearly cycle so that any likely costs are agree in advance including any likely requests for District funding. This process would normally be instigated through the District Team and/or District Leadership meeting but would not preclude approaches from individuals to the Board of Trustees who are seeking support for a district event.
Payment of Expenses Process
Expenses must be claimed using the current MWSD Expense Claim Form. All claims for purchased items must be supported with receipts; mileage claims do not require a receipt.
Any expenses must be claimed in a timely manner, as a minimum on a quarterly basis (end of March, June, September, December) and ideally monthly.
Any requests for money to be paid in advance of expenditure must be discussed and agreed with District Lead Volunteer and District Treasurer.
Completed forms, along with receipts for items other than car non-mileage items and contributions to telephone costs should follow the following process for approval:
- Explorer and Network (14-24) Team Members up to a limit of £150 the completed and signed form should be sent to the relevant Team Leader (Unit Team Leader for Unit Team Members or 14 -25 Team Leader for Unit Team Leaders). For sums above £150 and up to and including £500 the form is to be sent to the 14-24 Team Leader or Lead Volunteer as appropriate.
- Programme Team Members up to a limit of £150, the completed and signed form should be sent to the relevant Team Leader (Sub Team Leader or Programme Team Leader as appropriate). For sums above £150 and up to and including £500 the form is to be sent to the Programme Team Leader or Lead Volunteer as appropriate.
- Volunteer Development Team Members up to a limit of £150, the completed and signed form should be sent to the relevant Team Leader (Sub Team Leader or Volunteer Development Team Leader as appropriate). For sums above £150 and up to and including £500 the form is to be sent to the Volunteer Development Team Leader or Lead Volunteer as appropriate.
- Activity Centre Team Members should send the completed and signed form sent to their Line Manager (relevant Activity Centre Manager or Support Team Leader as appropriate).
- Other uniformed leaders should send the completed and signed form to the Lead relevant Team Leader or Lead Volunteer for approval.
- Where a Team Leader isn’t in role, claims be approved by the next level up in the hierarchy or the Lead Volunteer.
- Lead Volunteer, Trustees and members of subcommittees and for all claims over £500 the completed and signed form should be approved by the District Chair.
In each case once approved, the form and copies of the receipts must be forwarded to the Treasurer who will set up an e-payment. This will then be electronically authorised for payment by the Chair. If the Chair is not available, has incurred the expenses themselves, or has approved the expenses, then the payment will be authorised by another member of the Board of Trustees with financial authority. Mersey Weaver are keen to ensure its team members are not left out of pocket and are committed to making payments in a timely manner. This is contingent on team members submitting expense claims promptly to ensure a swift reimbursement.
Payments for Services and Goods Policy
The delivery of projects, events and the maintenance of district assets (e.g. Activity Centres, Minibuses, Events) will require external / third party services and or goods to be procured. The purchase of such services and goods will be carried out under a specific or annual budget agreed with and managed by the Team Leader, Project or Centre Manager. The delivery of these services or goods will be accompanied by an invoice or receipt. No services or goods must be purchased outside of an agreed budget unless specifically agreed by the Board of Trustees.
Payment for Services and Goods Process
Any invoices for the provision of goods or services must first be approved by the applicable Team Leader, Centre or Project Manager having determined that the sum claimed reflects the agreed prices and that the works have been satisfactorily completed and or the goods have been delivered as agreed.
- Costs incurred for goods purchased by individuals must be claimed using the current MWSD Expense Claim Form. All claims for purchased goods must be supported by receipts.
- Invoices or Expense forms, covered by an agreed budget, up to and including a value of £500 must be sent by the relevant Team Leader, Project or Centre Manager to the Treasurer and Chair.
- Invoices or expense forms, covered by an agreed budget, over £500 and up to and including a value of £1000, once approved by the relevant Team Leader, Project or Centre Manager, must be sent to the Lead Volunteer, for approval, after which the invoice can be sent to the Treasurer and Chair.
- Payment of sums over £1000 or plans to pay or commit funds outside of an agreed budget, must first be discussed with the Board of Trustees via the Lead Volunteer, relevant Team Leaders and Chair.
- Utility bills for gas, electric, water and telecoms as well as insurance are sent directly to the Treasurer for payment. As budgeted expenditure, they don’t require approval. The Treasurer may query any costs with the relevant Centre Manager if the bill is an unusual amount.
In each case once the approved invoice or expense form is received by the Treasurer and Chair an e-payment will be set up by the Treasurer. This will then be electronically authorised for payment by the Chair. If the Chair is not available, has incurred the expenses themselves, or has approved the expenses, then the payment will be authorised by another member of the Board of Trustees with financial authority.