Travel on Official Business

This policy outlines requirements for the management of travel on official departmental business and provides clear instructions on the approval and authorisation processes for all departmental staff.

Changes since previous version

2021 Feb - 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.

Superseded Documents

2 November 2018 Business Services - Travel guidelines and the 2017 Travel On Official Business Travel Guidelines document replaced by EDConnect Travel guidelines.
11 September 2018 Business Services - Travel on official business procedures replaced by EDConnect Travel page.

23 April 2018 Remove “Staff only” marker and outdated references, minor text edits.

Document History

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Cards as the main method of payment for other travel related expenses. 23 April 2018 Remove “Staff only” marker and outdated references, minor text edits.

  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.
    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 which 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.
    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 on Official Business and NSW Treasury’s websites.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. This policy applies to all the staff of the Department of Education and to 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 which 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 departmental 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 on Official Business Guidelines and all related information as detailed.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. The following lists the responsibilities of staff who are required to undertake departmental travel:
      • staff are to ensure that their travel requests and any travel expense claims associated with those requests, comply with this policy and with the current version of the Travel on Official Business Guidelines
      • staff are to ensure that 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, staff are to ensure that the original approving officer endorses the change
      • staff are to report immediately to the approving officer the cancellation of a trip
      • where travel is undertaken and staff are claiming actual expenses or using PCards to meet costs, they are required to provide receipts for the costs incurred
      • travel expense claims must be submitted 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.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. 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 on Official Business 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.
    2. Performance monitoring
      1. The department is required to report on overseas travel as part of its annual reporting requirements. Business Services 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.
  6. Contact
    1. Director, Shared Services Business Services, 02 8633 1688
    2. For general enquiries please contact EDConnect on 1300 32 32 32 or, if not urgent, log an online query.
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