General

Guidance on Committee Fees and Expenses

Last revised: June 2020

Last updated: 31 October 2022

Travel costs are a substantial part of FSA expenditures, and it is essential that all costs are managed efficiently and effectively. This makes it important that FSA staff travel only when necessary and, where possible, use the most cost-effective method of transport. All expenditure on business travel should be justified and auditable in terms of the use of public funds and authorised only where it is in the FSA’s interests. There should be no situation which might arise to give legitimate criticism that FSA staff are benefiting at taxpayers’ expense.

In summary:

  • staff should only travel when there is a business need and video / tele-conferencing is not suitable
  • staff should always book through the FSA travel provider. Where travel is by train, standard class travel must be used
  • where air travel is essential, approval is needed
  • where staff encounter issues with travel they should contact the FSA’s travel provider. For contact details see: Booking travel and accomodation.

Exceptions to the policy

Changes to the provisions within this Policy may be authorised as a reasonable adjustment for staff with disabilities (where applicable). Other exceptions may be authorised by managers at grade 7 and above in respect of travel and accommodation within the UK and Republic of Ireland. Exceptions in respect of overseas travel and accommodation must be authorised by managers at grade 5 or above.

Fee rates 

From 1 Jan 2019, Members may claim the following attendance fees for Committee meetings and for meetings of Working Groups and Sub-groups:  

Committee Chair £400/day 

Committee Member £300/day 

Members may also make claims for work undertaken between or preparing for meetings, such as reading significant volumes of papers, and undertaking individual pieces of work for the committee.   

Review of fee rates 

These rates are set by the FSA with the aim of ensuring consistent approaches across the different Committees that advise it. The FSA will review and revise these rates every 2 years with the intention that rates should rise in line with the recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Board regarding pay in the Senior Civil Service. The FSA will also consider comparisons with rates paid in similar advisory bodies in the UK.   

Travel and other expenses 

Committee members are entitled to reimbursement of reasonable travel and subsistence expenses necessarily incurred on official committee business.  Members must seek value for money and are encouraged to use the most cost effective and environmentally sustainable options for travel and accommodation. Members are encouraged to arrange their travel with as much notice as possible in order to take advantage of discounted fares and other benefits available to early bookers. 

Guidance on the types and rates of expenditure that can be claimed for specific expenses is outlined below.  Alcoholic drinks and newspapers are not reimbursable from public funds. Reimbursement of gratuities will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances where the Secretariat agrees that they have necessarily been incurred. 

Tax liabilities arise on elements of these payments, which have been regarded as part of a Committee member’s income and are therefore taxable. Arrangements have been made whereby the FSA meets the cost of this tax (see below). 

Public transport (bus, underground, tram, etc.)  

  • There is no public transport rate for official business.  Actual costs of travel are reimbursed.  Any expenses incurred using public transport such as London Underground, local bus services and so on should be claimed back through the expenses procedure and tickets or receipts should be submitted with all claims. 

  • Members are encouraged to use Oyster cards for travel on the London Underground and Bus network.  Cards should be registered on-line with London Transport so that a print-out of journeys showing the cost of fares can be submitted with claims. 

  • Where London Underground has been included in the rail ticket, further expenditure on London Underground travel is not claimable.  

Rail 

  • Members should take return tickets where appropriate and observe any other normal economies and seek ways of reducing costs for example by avoiding open returns.  The cost of sleeping car accommodation may be claimed where an overnight journey is necessary. The FSA will only be able to refund standard class travel costs. Actual ticket or print-out showing date of journey, destination and class of travel must be produced, not a debit/credit card sales voucher. 

Car 

  • A mileage allowance is payable for the use of a member’s own car on official business.  This is payable at the following rates for all car types: 

  • First 10,000 miles in any tax year 45 pence per mile 

  • Over 10,000 miles in any tax year 25 pence per mile 

You will incur a personal tax liability from the payment of these mileage rates.  

  • Members wishing to claim mileage will need to register details of their car with the FSA’s Finance Section.  The Secretariat will supply the necessary forms which must be completed and returned. 

  • Permission for car journeys exceeding 130 miles in any one day should be sought from the Secretariat. Members will normally be expected to travel by public transport if that is cheaper.  

  • Please note that your car must be insured for business use.  Comprehensive insurance will not be insisted upon, but members should note that no liability will be accepted in the event of any accident, damage, injury or death or in respect of risks not covered by their insurance policies 

Taxi

Employees should only travel by taxi where there is no viable public transport alternative or the cost will be lower than parking and / or public transport costs.  Exceptions may be allowed, for example, as a reasonable adjustment for staff with a mobility disability or for health and safety reasons or for employees travelling alone at night.  FSA central contracts with taxi providers should be used where available.  Expenses incurred using taxis and other forms of public transport or car parking costs may be reimbursed through the expenses procedure.

Air 

For the FSA to meet its sustainability targets, domestic air travel should only be used in exceptional circumstances. UK air travel should be approved at grade 7 and above and overseas air travel approved at grade 5and above (or, where agreed, their deputy). Approval should only be given where there is a good business reason.  All air travel should be in economy class, with the exception of journeys over 8hours (from the originating airport to destination airport). In these cases, subject to manager authorisation (at grade 5 and above), other options should be explored, including in the first instance, premium economy or similar

Accommodation 

The maximum allowance for various locations is as follows: 

  • Central London: £145 per night including breakfast ex VAT   

  • Aberdeen: Up to £130 per night including breakfast & VAT

  • Elsewhere: Up to £100 per night including breakfast & VAT

Note: Where room only is the only option, the cost of breakfast will be reimbursed up to a value of £5

If the Secretariat usually books accommodation for you, this will be done through the Agency’s agents Redfern Travel.   

Other expenses 

Other, reasonable incidental expenses necessarily incurred on Committee business (for example, for childcare, parking, postage and telephone calls) may be reimbursable.  In certain circumstances, reimbursement for locum cover may be reimbursable, for example for vets and GPs who are required to provide 24-hour cover; this should be discussed and agreed in advance with the Secretariat.   

All items of ‘other expenses’ should be detailed separately in claims and supported by receipts wherever possible.   

Submitting claims 

Members must complete the Agency’s ‘Committee Fees and Expenses Claim Form’ for claim, which is provided by the Secretariat.  Members should use the electronic version but will need to print out, sign and submit a hard copy.  

Claim forms must be submitted within 90 days (3 months) of the relevant meeting otherwise the claim may not be processed by Finance. 

Receipts (or a copy of the relevant statement with highlighted transactions if the total bill includes personal expenditure) must be attached to the appropriate claim form before it is sent to the Secretariat. Claims without receipts will not be paid. However, individual claims of under £10 for expenses on items such as Oyster Cards, where receipts cannot be obtained, will be reimbursed without a receipt, at the discretion of the Committee Secretariat. 

Payment of claims 

Claims are processed on behalf of the FSA through its payroll processes and are paid in accordance with monthly salary timetables i.e. the last working day of each month, via the BACS system into members’ bank accounts. Advice slips are forwarded by email. 

Tax on fees and expenses 

Fees paid to members will be subject to income tax and national insurance contributions depending on individual members’ circumstances.  Deductions for tax and national insurance contributions will be made by the Agency before you receive payment.  Payments for travel and related expenses are also liable to income tax and national insurance contributions, but members can opt for the Food Standards Agency to pay any tax on expenses on their behalf, providing they do not re-claim it from HM Revenue and Customs at a later date.  

Members of pensionable age may be exempt from or have reduced liability to national insurance contributions.  There may be other cases where payments to members take them over their maximum liability for national insurance contributions.  In these instances, members are advised to contact the Department for Work and Pensions for further guidance. It is the responsibility of individual members to correctly raise VAT on their fees and expenses if they are deemed to be acting as a trader registered for VAT.  If you require further guidance on this, please contact your local VAT office. 

Newly appointed members are required to complete the ‘Committee Member Payroll Registration Form’ and ‘Committee Member Reimbursement of Expenses Registration Form’. 

Subsistence Rates 

4-hour subsistence allowance (not taxable)

Up to £25 (based on actual receipts). Plus up to £5 breakfast if not included in room rate (based on actual / receipts)

Family and friends allowance(taxable)

This allowance may be claimed to cover the expenses associated with staying with family and friends. This is a 24-hour flat rate allowance. Receipts are not required. The allowance cannot be claimed in addition to the 24-hour subsistence rate above.

£25 flat rate allowance

Day subsistence allowance (not taxable)

Payable when away from the normal workplace for over 5 hours

 

Payable when away from the normal workplace for over 10 hours

 

Evening meal allowance (not taxable)

Payable when away from the normal workplace for over 12 hours and after 8pm.

Up to £5 (based on actuals / receipts)

 

Up to £10 (based on actuals/ receipts)

 

 

Up to £15 (based on actuals / receipts)