Advance Advice to Branches on Group Conference Expenses

18 Jan 2019

This guidance is based on national union rules and policies (e.g. Supporting Carers In Union Activities and the PCS Environmental Policy), which was issued in DWP Group Conference Circular No 6 in February 2018.

In most cases the above Circular covers the vast majority of delegates’ scenarios, but there are cases that may not fall within the guidance already issued. Clearly queries very close to conference can take up extra time for those processing/authorising the expenses and can cause delays in payment of expenses.

Following previous advance advice we had noticed a reduction in conference related queries.

The Group feels re issuing advance advice is extremely helpful and will save all involved valuable time and ensure there are no delays with expenses being processed.

As you know conference attendees do book hotels / pay deposits quite early as well as making care arrangements.

It may be worth noting the following –

  • There current  national union set ceiling for hotel accommodation in Brighton is  £90.00 per night (this includes breakfast) exceptionally a higher amount may be allowable if for example there are children accompanying the delegate and a family room required, if this is the case you MUST seek approval in advance from the Group Treasurer.
  • This may seem obvious but please check carefully amounts on your invoice for hotels when booking and / or paying, the onus is on you to check and NOT to exceed any limits.
  • Conference expenses are ONLY paid for formal branch delegates, agreed trainee delegates (these individuals will be notified in advance by the Group) and former members invited to collect Distinguished Life Membership awards (DLM’s).
  • We do NOT pay any expenses for branch / regional observers.
  • Detailed information on using a car is in Conference Circular No 6, we would recommend you seek advice / approval in advance.
  • If booking accommodation for more than the standard 2 nights again please check and seek approval in advance.
  • Branches MUST advice Group Office as soon as possible if there are any changes to their delegates.
  • Please try to book accommodation where any deposit is refundable in case you are unable to attend. In previous years there were problems with some non-attendees and in some cases delegates had not clarified the refund / cancellation policy in advance, it was a particular problem when booking via 3rd party (online discount) sites as in some instances the 3rd party’s rules on refunds / cancellations were more rigid than when booking directly with the hotel. 
  • If you do not attend conference for any reason after receiving expenses YOU ARE REQUIRED TO REFUND PCS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. You can either return the expenses cheque itself

Or send a personal cheque for the amount made out to PCS. Any cheque should be sent to the Finance Department, PCS, Town Centre House, 3rd Floor, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY.

Please note Redfern are now the PCS travel provider and they can advise further on returning any unused rail tickets

The Group is absolutely committed to have the maximum size of branch delegations attend Group Conference and national conference which are both an extremely important part of your union’s democratic structure.

We hope branches and delegates will again find this advance advice helpful, if you have any queries at all regarding conference expenses please check in advance, we do not want delays in payment of expenses or members being out of pocket - next years’ conference expenses circular will be issued in the next few weeks.

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