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Finance Transformation - Purchase and travel card review

(22 June 2018)

As part of a UEC-sponsored review of the University Finances, the decision has been taken to assess the use and the management of purchase and travel cards across the University to minimise the risk to the University and the cost of administration.

This process will be managed carefully and the Finance Department has consulted academics, administrative staff and UEC members along the way in a series of workshops in the last month. UEC has backed the proposals and multiple members of UEC have already agreed to give their cards up.

On Wednesday, 20 June UEC agreed to the following recommendations which are being progressed:

1) Instigating a ‘freeze’ on any new requests for purchase and travel cards during the remainder of this financial year.

2) Instigating exploring amendments to the purchasing and expenses policy to improve clarity and ease of use – with further discussions and consultations to follow before this is finalised.

3) Instigating a governance and disciplinary policy and process for instances of card misuse - with further discussions and consultations to follow before this is finalised.

4) Restricting the use of cards at some merchants that are deemed out of policy – these are for categories of expenditure which are beyond the normal business needs of the university, or are the wrong ‘route’ for this type of purchase, eg staffing agencies.

5) Replacing purchasing and travel cards with corporate cards – this will save us money on administration.

6) Instigating mandatory online policy training for card holders – this will make the use of the cards easier for everyone.

In addition, central Finance has agreed to increase the frequency of expenses payments to twice a month. Expenses deadlines will now be on the 10th and 28th of each month, with the additional run commencing on Thursday, 28 June. However, staff will now no longer be allowed to hold a card for emergency purposes and will be expected to use their own cards and reclaim on expenses in an emergency if required.

Please note that currently we will not be withdrawing cards for legitimate research grant use.

We will be withdrawing cards through a series of purges. A number of low-use cards have been withdrawn following the first purge. Subsequent purges are underway as part of an on-going review of card use. Cardholders affected by this will be contacted and suitable alternative payment methods will be highlighted and outlined clearly

To support the ongoing management of purchase and travel cards, a reporting dashboard has been devised that will be used to report on card use across the University, which will be presented to UEC and heads of departments on a monthly basis.

Further communication will be issued on an ongoing basis.

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Please liaise with the designated contact for your department or college. For further guidance, email dialogue@durham.ac.uk

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