Travel on Official Business

Direction and guidance on requirements for managing travel on official departmental business and instructions on the approval and authorisation processes for all departmental staff.

Changes since previous version

2023 Dec 05 - updated policy statement to include travel safety advice., including specific advice for LGBTQIA+ staff.

Document history

2022 Aug 08 - updated contact details in policy statement.

2022 Jul 25 - updated the policy statement to clarify policy requirements (sections 1.4 and 1.5) and comply with policy template (sections 4 and 5). Updated contact details and titles. Changed the name of the implementation web page link from 'Travel on official business guidelines' to 'Travel (EDConnect website)'.

2021 Feb 23 - Policy maintenance, which may include but not limited to, updated contact details, business unit or position titles, typographical, text and style changes and repairing hyperlinks.

2019 Jul - updates to address SAP HR/Payroll requirements, using NSW Government Travel Management Services (Not applicable to school excursions), and to encourage the use of Purchasing Cards as the main method of payment for other travel related expenses.

2018 Apr 23 - removed 'Staff only' marker and outdated references, minor text edits.

Superseded documents

2018 Nov 02 - Business Services - Travel guidelines and the 2017 Travel On Official Business Travel Guidelines document replaced by EDConnect Travel guidelines.

2018 Sept 11 - Business Services - Travel on official business procedures replaced by EDConnect Travel page.

  1. Policy statement
    1. Spending on travel on official business must be sustainable, transparent and achieve value for money. The department requires staff to obtain appropriate approval and authorisation for any official travel using public money, prior to using any mode of transport and incurring any travel expense. Obtaining prior approval to undertake departmental travel provides better control of the travel arrangements, improves planning and coordination, establishes limits for expenditure and assists in budget management.
    2. In considering a request to travel, approving officers should ensure that travel is necessary and that the business activity could not be conducted by other means utilising available technology and innovative approaches to working. Where it is established that travel is required, approving officers are to ensure that the minimum number of staff are involved.
    3. Where it is necessary for staff to undertake travel, the most economical and practical form of transport should be chosen. Staff should in the first instance consider travelling by public transport. If public transport is unavailable or unsuitable, then a departmental vehicle should be used. If a departmental vehicle is not available then either taxi, rental car, ride sharing or private vehicle could be used depending on the cost effectiveness and suitability.
    4. Staff in corporate locations are required to make all domestic and international travel arrangements for flights, accommodation and rental vehicle services through the NSW government travel management contractor. Staff in schools travelling on official business must use the travel management contractor for international travel valued at over $10,000. Schools are encouraged to also use the travel management contractor for domestic travel under $10,000 as an alternative to local arrangements in accordance with the Travel Guidelines. Prior travel arrangements under the local schools local decisions reform is currently under review. Schools may continue to purchase flights, accommodation and rental vehicles from their preferred non-contract provider up to $10,000 but purchases need to be made in line with the Approaching the market guide.
    5. The SAP Travel Request or Blanket Authority to Travel (BATT) Request is to be completed by staff and approved by an authorised delegate prior to travel being undertaken. This approval will constitute the master record that governs all travel arrangements for the journey(s) to which it applies. Delegates should ensure that all relevant details and cost estimates are provided on the travel request or BATT. When creating a BATT, staff are also encouraged to separately email their principal, director or manager the BATT's travel and expense details. This should include the reason for travel, locations, estimated costs and accommodation, flight and vehicle requirements.
    6. The department will elect to pay for actual costs associated with travel on official business, utilising contracted supplier arrangements and Purchasing Cards as standard practice, minimising staff reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses. Payment of travel related expenses and allowances to staff must be in accordance with rates and conditions approved under the relevant industrial instrument. Changes to rates and conditions are published on the department's Travel web page and NSW Treasury's website.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. All the staff of the Department of Education and all department operations in respect of travel on official business. This policy does not apply to school excursions or other events where staff are accompanying and supervising students that have separate approval processes in place. The department's Excursions policy and procedures outline requirements for excursions.
  3. Context
    1. All activities must be conducted in an ethical and transparent manner and comply with the department's Code of Conduct. It is expected that officers who accept responsibility for the management of any part of the department's budget will ensure that internal controls over the receipt and expenditure of public moneys are in place, operate effectively and provide adequate safeguards against corruption, maladministration and serious and substantial waste of public money. They are also required to ensure their conduct and that of their staff meets the highest probity standards.
    2. This policy should be read in conjunction with the Travel guidelines and all related information as detailed.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Staff required to undertake departmental travel:
      • ensure their travel requests and any travel expense claims associated with those requests, comply with this policy and with the current version of the Travel guidelines
      • refer to Smart Traveller for advice on travel safety, including specific advice for LGBTQIA+ staff in section 7.7 of the Travel Guidelines.
      • ensure they seek the approval of an authorised delegate prior to proceeding on departmental travel
      • where any variation to the itinerary or cost of trip occurs, ensure that the original approving officer endorses the change
      • report the cancellation of a trip immediately to the approving officer
      • where travel is undertaken and staff are claiming actual expenses or using PCards to meet costs, provide receipts for the costs incurred
      • submit travel expense claims within one month of completion of travel.
    2. Departmental delegations have been designed to support the travel policy. These authorities are derived from the relevant Acts or industrial awards and agreements and, where appropriate, can be sub-delegated to serve the functional needs of the department.
    3. In approving an application to travel, delegates must ensure that the costs do not exceed their financial delegation and that sufficient funds are available. Delegated officers are not permitted to approve their own travel.
    4. Examining claims
      1. A travel expense claim is to be submitted to the staff member's supervisor. Prior to processing the payment, officers must confirm that:
        • the travel and any travel expense claims associated with it comply with this policy and with the current version of the Travel guidelines
        • they are satisfied as to the actual details of the journey
        • variations to the original travel request have been approved
        • the payment is supported by an authority to travel
        • travel complied with the purpose of the authority
        • amounts claimed are in accordance with actual costs incurred or approved rates/allowances.
      2. Staff claiming actual expenses are to have the following checks undertaken:
        • valid tax invoices/receipts are provided
        • other supporting documents relate to the journey
        • amounts claimed are reasonable.
      3. Approving officers must undertake a rigorous approach to the examination, questioning and, if necessary, rejection of claims made.
    5. Performance monitoring
      1. The department is required to report on overseas travel as part of its annual reporting requirements. Business Services and Enablement coordinates the collation of relevant information for the annual report.
      2. Records relating to travel, such as approvals, bookings and expense claims are to be retained in relevant systems by schools and business units to provide transparent reporting of use of public monies, compliance with the Australian Taxation Office documentation requirements and internal and external audit purposes.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, Shared Services Business Services and Enablement monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
  6. Contact
    Director, Shared Services Business Services and Enablement
    Enquiries to EDConnect on 1300 32 32 32 or log an online query.
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