Travelling on behalf of the University on businessWednesday, 15 July 2020
The University has updated its guidance on travelling in the UK and overseas following recent changes to Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice.
The FCO has amended its guidance regarding international travel and has made certain countries exempt from the ‘all but essential' travel, exempting destinations it believes no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. More information on exempted countries can be found on the Gov.uk website. In response, we have amended our position and will no longer prohibit overseas travel.
There are slight differences between procedures for staff and students, but the key things you should be aware of are as follows:
Our approval process must be followed before any travel is booked. This is outlined fully in the COVID-19 staff FAQS, and all travel must first be authorised by your Head of School/Function and Health & Safety Co-Ordinator before being booked. In some cases, such as travelling to an area classed as being a higher risk, additional approval will need to be obtained from the Vice-Chancellor. This process includes completing a Risk Assessment of the destination you intend to travel to and the completion of several Health & Safety forms.
It is recommended that you obtain approval to travel and complete all relevant Risk Assessments and documentation at least 28 days before the date you intend to travel.
Reasons to travel
Reasons to travel will still be limited, and approval will primarily be given to those taking part in activities relating to:
- External Research Funding purposes
- Research/placement/Study Abroad/fieldwork
- Overseas recruitment
Permission may be given to travel for additional reasons, but this will ultimately be the decision of your Head of School or Function and in some cases, the Vice-Chancellor.
Travel within the UK
You are able to travel within the UK for business, research, placements and fieldwork, following approval from your Head of School or Function.
If approval is given, you must ensure you abide by the UK governments guidelines, including social distancing measures.
Decisions to grant permission to travel abroad will be assessed on a country-by-country basis. We will be informed by:
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance;
- Guidance from our insurance provider using Drum Cussac website (This a Risk Management service provided by our insurers to give the user Risk advice for countries based on several criteria. You will need to register for this using your staff email address);
- Government and institutional policies in the host country.
Completion and approval of the updated Risk Assessment is mandatory for all journeys abroad. All travel arrangements must be booked through our Travel Management Company, CTM. Please see the COVID-19 staff FAQS for full details.
The booking of travel
Travel can only be booked following approval from your Head of School or Function and the Vice-Chancellor in some instances.
The booking process will vary slightly depending on whether you intend you travel within the UK or overseas:
- UK travel: All UK flights must be booked through our Travel Management Company. You can also book accommodation and other means of travel through the Travel Management Company, or make a direct booking through an appropriate public transport provider or hotel.
- Overseas: All flights and local travel must be booked through our Travel Management Company. Accommodation should also be booked through our travel management company unless offered by an event organiser (such as the host of a conference).
COVID-19 and insurance
The University's insurance policy includes cover for contracting COVID-19 if travelling for business purposes - however, you must adhere to local government of FCO advice. This will be monitored closely, and any changes will be communicated as soon as possible.
Depending on the risks associated with your travel, there may be areas that would not be covered by our insurance. This could include cancellation/curtailment or travel, political/natural disaster evacuation and crisis management.
This will be explored as part of preparation for seeking approval to travel, but if you any immediate questions please contact email@example.com.
As mentioned above, a slightly different procedure will be in place for students, which will be especially relevant for Placements/Study Abroad. Details are being shared internally and will be available for reference on our Essentials pages.
The situation is changing quickly and we will do our best to update information as soon as possible. The COVID-19 staff FAQS are undergoing a major overhaul and will be updated shortly to reflect recent government updates.
We have also amended the Code of Practice 38 for Overseas Travel to bring it in line with the changes that have been made.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.