Staff travel advice

Updated 26 July 2021

UK travel

Travel within the UK for University activities is permitted subject to an approved risk assessment to ensure appropriate control measures are in place.

International travel on University business

International travel is still a very uncertain area and is only permitted where this is essential, has support from the Executive Dean and has followed the full fieldwork risk assessment process with support from the health and safety team.

Key Travel is to be used for UK and international booking arrangements.

Booking travel

As a result of the volatile national and international landscape, the University continues to mandate the requirement to use Key Travel for all travel activities.

This includes all travel and accommodation both internationally and in the UK. We appreciate that travel needs to be arranged and planned in advance.  With so much uncertainty, using Key Travel will provide both the traveller and the University with the assurance of any necessary assistance before, during and after the trip.

So for the remainder of 2021 – all approved travel must be booked through the University’s appointed travel management company, Key Travel. Bookings should be made using the Key Travel online booking platform.

Where further assistance is required you can contact Key Travel directly:

The University purchasing procurement team are also available for any travel queries:

Questions about insurance should be addressed to:

We recognise that Key Travel are unable to support every specialist requirement and where Key Travel are unable to provide suitable travel or accommodation then an exception can be made. The traveller must first have received notification from Key Travel that they are unable to provide suitable travel arrangements.

Information for staff on managing study abroad and work placements

Travel permissions are subject to change in line with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice.

The University does not recommend travel to destinations where the FCDO advises against ‘all but essential’ travel for work, study or placements. However, applications for exceptional permission for travel to some destinations will be considered. For more information, access the study and work abroad advice for students.

For more information on what this means:

  • For study placements, please visit our Study Abroad information
  • For work placements, contact your Faculty Employability Team in the first instance.

Check if the FCDO has advised against ‘all but essential travel’ to the destination country.

If travel is allowed, then the process of planning to support taught students in UK and overseas work placements and study abroad can proceed, as follows:

  • The full risk management process, (including COVID-19 risk assurance) for study abroad and work placements must be completed (and in the case of placements, the Tripartite Agreement too) before travel.
  • Risk Awareness Forms for Study Abroad and Risk Management Action Plans for Work Placements for all international travel must be reviewed by the Study Abroad Office and shared with the Study Abroad Coordinator, or Employability Manager respectively.
  • Travel also depends on the destination’s local rules and regulations and, due to the fast-changing global situation, may still be prevented at the last minute.
  • Travel plans (e.g. a flight) which don’t involve travel from the UK to an overseas location, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on country-specific travel advice.
  • Where any study abroad or work placement activity is currently taking place the risk management awareness forms or actions plans must be reviewed to ensure they include COVID-19 precautions.

Questions about insurance should be addressed to

Managing fieldwork

Fieldwork in the UK

Fieldwork activities (staff and PGRs) in England and mainland UK have now restarted. Planning for future fieldwork – both for research and teaching – can go ahead. A full fieldwork risk assessment (including COVID-19 mitigation measures) will need to be approved before fieldwork in the UK can begin. More information is available on the wellbeing, safety and health website 

International fieldwork (research and teaching)

Planning for international fieldwork (both for research and for teaching) can now begin, although with so many unknowns, we recommend that wherever possible you plan for UK-based fieldwork instead. If international fieldwork is considered essential, please be aware that you must have followed the stringent approval processes. This includes both the fieldwork risk assessment process and – where travel is to a country where the FCDO advises against all or against all but essential travel – the Travel against FCDO advice procedure. Of course, international travel may be prevented at the last minute, due to fast-changing government (and local) rules specific to each country.

Travelling overseas for personal/recreational reasons

The Government’s advice explains the requirements for travelling during the current UK COVID-19 restrictions. – see the Government travel advice for more information.

Self-isolating when you arrive in the UK

If you are currently overseas and are required to follow the Governmental requirements and self-isolate on return or while you are there, even if self-isolation rules were not in place at the time of your outbound journey:

  • The University expects your contractual obligations relating to work to be met;
  • If it was anticipated that you would be working from home for the whole of the relevant self-isolation period, then that will be supported;
  • If you were expected to be working on campus for all or part of the relevant self-isolation period, we may be able to allocate work to you that can be delivered from home and we expect you to be flexible in your approach to work.  If remote working cannot be arranged, you will be required to take annual leave (from either the current or next year’s entitlement) or unpaid leave (but only if your current year leave entitlement is exhausted);
  •  If you become ill during the self-isolation period, you will be eligible for sick pay according to normal rules;
  • You are advised to discuss your circumstances with your local HR Manager who will provide advice and, where circumstances are exceptional, will provide support.

Reimbursement of travel costs

The use of Key travel for all travel activities is now a mandatory requirement. The reimbursement of any cancelled travel due to Covid-19 will be managed through this arrangement.  For travel activity that has been authorised outside of the Key Travel contract (where this is a specialist arrangement) then assuming the travel and activity was authorised and booked in line with University policy, directly related expenses will be reimbursed.

In some circumstances it may be possible to recover other costs through the University’s Travel Insurance. Any questions about insurance should be addressed to

Non-recoverable costs will be absorbed by the University and any personal expenditure should be claimed through Employee Self Service in the usual way.


Questions regarding travel bookings and cancellations should be addressed to Key Travel and the University Procurement Team. Questions regarding travel or booking cancellation insurance should be addressed to the University Insurance Team.

Key Travel
Phone: 0161 819 8911

University Procurement Team

University Insurance Team