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Travel

The Travel Rules of Use — School-based Staff has been updated to limit staff interstate travel to essential travel only. Refer to: Travel preparation on the Guidance tab.

Policy

This policy and Travel Rules of Use — School-based Staff set out the requirements for all school-based staff who are travelling as part of their job.

This policy and the Travel Rules of Use — School-based Staff aim to ensure that travel delivers public value, benefits the education sector and impacts positively on student learning, while maintaining the safety and security of our travellers.

Summary

  • The policy must be read in conjunction with the Travel Rules of Use — School-based Staff (the Rules) (refer to Guidance tab). The Rules set out all the key processes and procedures that must be followed when planning, booking and travelling.
  • This policy and the Rules provide direction for school staff who are travelling and travel approvers about the guiding principles and practical requirements for travel.
  • While this policy does not apply to students who are travelling, it does apply to personnel accompanying the students. For information about student travel refer to Excursions.

Details

1  Policy statement

1.1  Policy position

Travel is a key enabler for the Department to discharge its core functions and to advance the government’s objectives in delivering a world-class education system. The Department is committed to ensuring students develop the skills and intercultural capabilities needed to succeed in an increasingly globalised world and become active, global citizens.

Travel enables all our staff, including teachers and principals to share knowledge, learn from best-practice, establish strategic partnerships and develop intercultural insights to support their work and student learning. Travel is also important for promoting Victoria’s quality education to other jurisdictions, to support the growth of international education as one of the state’s largest export sectors.

1.2  Purpose

The people of Victoria expect the public sector to act with integrity, accountability, ethics and transparency in performing all aspects of its varied roles.

The Department's Travel Policy (the policy) and the Department's Travel Rules of Use (the Rules) provide direction for travellers and travel approvers around the guiding principles for Department travel and how these principles are put into practice to best enable and discharge of core Department functions.

The policy should be read in conjunction with the Rules in the Guidance tab.

It aims to ensure that travel delivers public value and benefits the education sector, and impacts positively on student learning, while maintain the safety and security of our travellers, so the Department can effectively deliver on its core functions while meeting obligations under the legislative framework (see section 1.6)

The policy and Rules align with the Victorian Government Travel Policy, which takes precedence over this document should inconsistencies arise.

1.3  General principles

The following principles give clarity and certainty for official travel-related decisions. Regardless of the funding source, travel is to occur in a manner that:

  • reflects clear value and benefit for the education portfolio
  • reflects integrity, accountability, ethics and transparency
  • assesses the travel relative to the next best alternative for that expenditure
  • contains costs and adheres to the highest probity principles

Getting the best value from travel expenditure means making smart choices about who travels, how, where, and when. Travel should be undertaken where it is expected to offer a return on investment. Alternatives, like video calls and support from staff on-site at destinations, should be pursued first.

1.4  Scope

Compliance with the policy and Rules is a requirement for school-based staff, contractors or consultants delivering official business or travelling on school excursions, including:

  • the teaching service, including principals
  • other school-based staff
  • school council members

The policy and Rules do not cover student travel. School-based travellers accompanying students on school trips and excursion may have additional obligations. These are detailed in Excursions.

For the purpose of this policy and associated Rules, these staff are identified collectively as ‘DET’.

Travellers, and travel administration or support staff, have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the policy and Rules, and to comply with relevant requirements.

1.5  Governance

The policy is issued under the delegated authority of the Secretary of the Department of Education and Training. Compliance with the policy and its associated Rules is a requirement for all staff.

This policy and Rules replace previously issued travel policies and procedures for corporate and school-based staff.

The policy and Rules are managed and maintained by the Procurement Division, Financial Policy and Infrastructure Services. These documents will be reviewed routinely to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and achieve their stated aims. Amendments may be made to the policy and Rules with the approval of the Executive Director, Procurement Division, and of the Secretary, where appropriate.

Travel activities and expenses are subject to audit.

1.6  Legislative framework

The Department requires that this policy must be compliant with relevant legislation, codes and policies.

1.7  Relevant DET policies and guidelines

Several DET policies and guidelines are relevant to the policy and Rules, including:

1.8  Freedom of Information awareness

Government travel is regularly subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and Parliamentary Questions. Travellers are required to retain comprehensive records of all approved travel and supporting documentation for any expenditure claims relating to the approved travel.

All travellers are reminded that they are travelling on government business on behalf of the Victorian Government and all matters relating to travel and conduct prior, during, and after the travel are subject to public scrutiny. Conflict of interest is to be avoided by adherence to DET’s policies and guidelines. 

2  Definitions

Definitions are provided in the Guidance tab.

3  Compliance with policy

3.1  Monitoring and compliance

When travelling:

  • the traveller is accountable for compliance with this policy
  • travel approvers are accountable for compliance with this policy

Compliance with this policy is to be ensured in line with DET HR policies and processes.

Travel approvers will be advised of their travellers’ identified and substantiated breaches of the policy and non-compliant practices. It is incumbent on travel approvers to take action when a complaint or serious misconduct is brought to their attention.

Possible consequences, in line with DET policies, include recovery of expenditure, and/or disciplinary action, which could entail termination of employment in cases of serious misconduct.

Refer to Complaints, Unsatisfactory Performance and Misconduct.

3.2  Complaints

If an employee has a complaint about misconduct or improper travel-related conduct, corporate and portfolio entity staff should lodge it with the immediate manager of the person the complaint is about. If your complaint is about their immediate manager, this should be discussed with the manager one above. Complaints regarding the teaching service should be made in writing to the regional director.

Refer to Complaints, Unsatisfactory Performance and Misconduct.

3.3  Education ‘Speak-up’ service

DET strongly encourages staff, contractors and consultants to disclose reportable conduct. If an employee has any known or suspected concerns about the appropriateness of someone’s travel conduct by way of an unlawful act or omission, unethical behaviour, or any breach of the policy, disclosures can be made through a third-party service provider. Disclosures will be treated confidentially.

Hotline service: 1800 633 462

Email: educationspeakup@pkf.com.au

Web portal: Talking Integrity

3.4  Appeals

An initial 'review of action' (personal grievance) may be requested in respect of any action taken within a work location that directly affects an employee that the employee considers:

  • is in breach of the Public Administration Act 2004
  • infringes the principles of merit and equity, or personnel policy or guidelines by the secretary
  • is otherwise unfair or unreasonable

An action includes refusal or failure to take action.

Refer to Grievances — Teaching Service.

Definitions

Refer to Guidance tab.

Relevant legislation

These documents are subject to change and take precedence over this policy and Rules. If any of the legislative framework changes, this policy will be updated accordingly.

Department policy introducing the Travel Rules of Use — School-Based Staff and providing the Department's policy statement on school-based staff travel

Reviewed 06 April 2021

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