Exceptional and complex circumstances expenses: departmental guide

All expenses must be in accordance with the four mandatory Principles.


Expenses Principles Logo. 1: value for money. 2: cannot pay directly.  3: no personal benefit. 4: evidence required.
  1. Value for money is achieved.

  2. Expenses should only be used when it is not possible and/or practical for the University to pay for the good or service directly.

  3. Costs incurred are for business purposes only, and the individual does not receive a personal benefit.

  4. Only actual and evidenced costs are reclaimed.


The University will only reimburse costs undertaken for necessary business purposes as part of an individual’s requirement to perform their duties of employment or conduct University business.


All expense claims should be evidenced with supporting receipts or proof of purchase AND properly recorded on the expense claim.


Many departments have colleagues undertaking complex activities such as travelling to difficult or remote locations, or conducting complex fieldwork overseas.

In these circumstances, University personnel may incur more unusual costs, or need to make purchases that fall outside the norm, and to ensure that the best possible arrangements can be put in place to support and facilitate their work, it is important that departmental administration teams are engaged and involved before planning commences.

In these circumstances, there may be a number of issues that need to be considered, including (but not limited to):

  • health and safety
  • insurance
  • tax
  • appropriate routes for engaging local workers
  • ensuring any funder or research grant terms and conditions are met

Overseas fieldwork payments to workers should be claimed in limited circumstances for payments made on an informal (i.e. no contract), one-off or limited basis to individuals supporting research overseas, e.g. local guide or survey respondents. In order to be claimed via expenses the following conditions must all be met:

  1. The services must be supplied outside the UK exclusively for business purposes; and
  2. The recipient must not be a UK resident or UK taxpayer; and
  3. The recipient must provide a signed, dated receipt

Departments can obtain further information from the Finance Division and other central services teams to ensure everything runs smoothly.

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