Financial Policy

Financial Procedures

Organisational Information

Our Financial Year runs from 1 April to 31 March each year with accounts reported to the Charity Commission.

Bank account: Oxfordshire Science Festival Limited at The Co-operative Bank

Name of Independent Examiner:  Mercer Lewin, 41 Cornmarket Street, Oxford

Bank Accounts

  1. All bank accounts must be in the name of the organisation.
  2. No account may ever be opened in the name of an individual or individuals.
  3. New accounts or changes to the bank mandate may only be made by a decision of the Board of Trustees, which must be minuted.
  4. The signatories are responsible for examining the payment documentation (purchase invoice etc) prior to signing any cheque or authorising an Internet transfer.
  5. Blank cheques must never be signed.

Signatories to the accounts:

  • Ian Thompson, Chair of Trustees
  • Dane Comerford, Managing Director

Annual Budget

An annual budget, setting out the organisation’s financial plan for the year, will be prepared for the approval of the Board of Trustees, this will be reviewed at each Board Meeting.

Financial Reports

Bank statements and accounts should be examined quarterly at Board of Trustees meetings and should be accompanied by a Profit & Loss summary for reconciliation purposes.

Accounting and other financial records

The organisation maintains a computerised accounting system which records cheque, cash and Internet banking payments and transfers to include:

  • The date of the transaction
  • The name of the person money was received from or paid to and the full amount
  • A brief description of why the money was received or paid
  • An analysis of each amount under its relevant budget heading, where applicable
  • Every Quarter the financial records will be reviewed by OSF Trustees.

 Authorisation and Payment

  1. The Managing Director is responsible for working within the budget agreed by the Board of Trustees.
  2. The Managing Director can authorise payments for other items not included in the budget, up to a total of £500, provided that the overall budget is not exceeded
  3. The Managing Director can authorise payments for any items included in the approved budget, up to £3,000.
  4. For purchases exceeding £3,001 approval is required from the Chair of Trustees and should be accompanied by at least two written quotes and/or an explanatory statement justifying the proposed expenditure.
  5. A designated member of permanent staff may authorise payments for items included in the approved budget, up to £200.
  6. Volunteers or contract staff may not authorise payments on behalf of the charity.
  7. No Board of Trustees or staff member may authorise payment to themselves, their partner, relatives or business partners.
  8. All purchases should be accompanied by a suitable order and / or invoice. The invoice should contain the VAT reference of the supplier.
  9. All payments must be entered in the computerised accounting system after being authorised.
  10. The preferred method of payment is through the charity’s payment card with the Co‑Operative Bank.
  11. Small payments, such as personal subsistence expense claims should be within any budget authorisation limit (or otherwise pre-approved) and must be authorised by a signatory to the accounts (listed above) other than the subsistence claimant.

 Personal Expense Claims Procedure


  1. A business trip is any business-related activity outside the office.
  2. An expense claim is valid if it is in respect of bona fide business expenses, incurred on behalf of the charity, conforms to the rules, is supported by the necessary receipts or other documentation and has not been previously reimbursed or paid for by another third party.
  3. The charity does not offer a daily allowance for incidental expenses.

Business Expenses

  1. Overseas travel requires prior written approval from the Chair of Trustees.
  2. For UK trips all expense claims must be accompanied by VAT receipts. This includes reimbursement for fuel.
  3. Other Business Expenses – including hotel accommodation, food, travel, business telephone calls incurred during the business trip can be reimbursed. Receipts are required.
  4. False Claims – failure to comply with the rules relating to expense claims could result in disciplinary action.
  5. All requests for reimbursement for personal expenses must be recorded using the Expense Claim form (revised April 2018


  1. OSF will reimburse reasonable expenses incurred in entertaining guests. Guests are defined as people who do not work for The Oxfordshire Science Festival and are entertained on OSF business.

Hotel Accommodation

  1. A guideline allowance for overnight accommodation, provided a claimant is sufficiently far away from their usual home is £110 (or local equivalent) to include bed and breakfast and local taxes.
  2. Where accommodation rates significantly exceed the allowance stated above, you should agree the rate with the Chair of Trustees before confirming the reservation.

Telephone Calls

  1. OSF will pay business-related telephone calls if supported by a VAT receipt.
  2. Staff may help reduce operational costs of the charity and receive a monthly £15.00 contribution towards a personal mobile phone contract in lieu of a phone owned and paid for by the charity, provided that any necessary mechanism (phone calls, text messages or emails) is functional by means of a comprehensive and active airtime and/or data plan (ie. not reliant on mechanisms that rely on free or unencrypted WiFi.)

Public Transport (including air travel)

  1. When travelling on business please consider the journey you will make and its environmental impact and where reasonably practicable use the most efficient form of transport.
  2. Travel should be in Standard Class / Economy Class (or equivalent) seeking value for money against business need.


  1. Parking: Car parking expenses incurred on business will be reimbursed.  Receipts are required.
  2. Private car mileage:
    A mileage rate of 45 pence per mile for the first 10,000 miles and thereafter 25 pence per mile (inclusive of fuel) is payable if you use your private car on business, provided the car is insured for business use.OSF accepts no responsibility for damage caused to vehicles used in this manner. Employees may be required to provide evidence of mileage. Commuting is not considered to be business use.
    Staff are required to provide evidence of business insurance by submitting a copy of their valid insurance certificate to the Chair of Trustees. A copy of this certificate must be on file for expenses to be processed.
    HMRC guidelines are that if someone has used their car for both private and business miles then this should be stated on the receipt when the expense claim is made. For example, if you have driven 100 business miles and 300 private miles a claim is made for 25% of the cost of the fuel. The receipt must be dated on or after the date that the business mileage occurred.
  3. OSF will not pay any fines for Motoring or Parking Offences.

Flights and Overseas Travel

  1. Overseas travel requires prior written approval from the Chair of Trustees.

This Financial Policy, and the Financial and Personal Expense Claims Procedure detailed above were agreed and minuted at a meeting of the Board of Trustees on 20 April 2018.