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Departmental Rail Travel

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what guidance his Department issues on staff claims for travel in first class carriages on trains if there are no seats in standard class. (268545)

Rules relating to travel claims are set out in the Civil Service Management Code. The Code can be accessed at:

http://beta.civilservice.gov.uk/about/work/codes/csmc/index.aspx

There is no DIUS departmental guidance for the specific situation of whether members of staff may claim for travel in first class carriages on trains if there are no seats in standard class.

Guidance does state that staff in grades Senior Executive Officer (SEO) and above have a formal entitlement to first class travel. However, before travelling, all staff should consider the following issues around the journey ahead:

If they need to work on the train there may be occasions, for example travelling at peak times on a busy route, when first class travel will be less busy and noisy than standard class.

If they intend to eat a full meal on the train and claim reimbursement, they should consider whether they will get a better deal by opting for a first class or executive package which includes meal vouchers.

If they have a disability or a temporary condition, such as a broken limb, first class travel is likely to be more comfortable.

It also states staff should consider their class of travel in advance to take advantage of discounts, route deals and meal availability. If they have booked a seat in standard accommodation but find it is too busy and noisy to work, then they may upgrade to first class.