Financial Assistance for the Purposes of Relocation - Guidance Document for Hospital Training Grade Medical and Dental Staff

Introduction
Underlying Principles
Scope
Movement Between Organisations
Amount Payable
Entitlement According to Length of Training Programme/Rotation/Post
Eligibility for Financial Assistance
General Conditions
Designation of Base Hospital
Summary of Relocation Expenses Allowable for Owner-Occupiers
  Allowances during search for accommodation
  Legal and other expenes connected with sale and purchase of accommodation
  Removal and storage of furniture
  Continuing commitments allowance
Excess Travelling Expenses
Guidance and Interpretation
Rights of appeal
Review


 

Introduction

These guidelines replace the August 2007 and August 2008 guidance documents for all practitioners appointed to training programmes on or after 1 August 2012.

The guidelines are intended to ensure consistency of approach across the three organisations involved. The aim of these guidelines is to provide assistance to hospital training grade medical and dental staff that is required to move home in order to take up a post on a training programme.

The Postgraduate Deans wish to encourage employers to follow the guidelines to maintain this consistency of approach. However, it is recognised that, as the employers of hospital training grade medical and dental staff, they may choose to incorporate these guidelines as Trust policy as they stand, to adapt the guidelines to suit themselves, or to follow the Trust’s own relocation policy. As this guidance has previously been adopted by Trusts it should continue to be observed unless and until alternative arrangements are specifically agreed by the Local Negotiating Committee in the Trust.

For the purposes of this guidance document hospital training grade medical and dental staff will be referred to as the ‘practitioner’.

Where an Employing Trust agrees to adopt this guidance (as is the case of the Trusts covered by Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education) Health Education South West will support all Employing Trusts in ensuring consistency of approach.

Underlying Principles

The guiding principle behind the provision of financial assistance for the purposes of relocation is that a practitioner should not be financially disadvantaged by reasonable costs incurred through a move in the interests of the service, or to further their training. However, practitioners are not expected to profit materially from reimbursements in respect of this financial assistance.

These guidelines are not necessarily intended to cover fully the costs of relocating to a new area but to provide reasonable financial assistance to complete a training programme that may consist of a number of different placements across a wide geographical area.

This guidance has been produced using the principles laid out in the nationally agreed guidance between COPMeD, the BMA and NHS Employers.

This relocation guidance document is available on the websites of the three organisations.

Scope

This guidance document covers the Employing Trusts within the footprint of the Wessex, Severn Postgraduate Medical Education and the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education.

It applies to all practitioners holding substantive contracts whose training is both educationally approved by the relevant LETB and General Medical Council (GMC) / General Dental Council (GDC) and is funded in whole or in part via the agreements between Health Education South West (or its successor body) and Employing Trusts for Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education, in accordance with EL(92)63, ie:

  • Foundation Year 1 Trainees
  • Foundation Year 2 Trainees
  • Foundation Year 2 Dental Trainees
  • Core Trainees (CT1 – CT3)
  • Specialty Training Registrars (ST1 upwards)
  • Dental Senior House Officers
  • Specialist Registrars (including Locum Appointment for Training)
  • Academic Clinical Fellows (ACF)
  • Academic Clinical Lecturers (ACL)
  • Fixed Term Specialty Training Appointments (FTSTA)

Please note this guidance document DOES NOT relate to those practitioners who have been appointed to a GP Specialty Training programme where the first post is within a GP Practice. Please contact the GP Practice that you start your training programme with for further details of financial assistance under these circumstances.

This includes the posts above where educational approval has been given by both the GMC / GDC and the relevant LETB but are fully funded by the Employing Trust as clearly documented through the Learning and Development Agreement (LDA).

If the practitioner does not fall into one of the categories mentioned above then this document is not applicable.

Movement Between Organisations

Those appointed via an inter organisational transfer (previously inter-deanery transfer) will not be entitled to relocation expenses or excess mileage in lieu of relocation expenses.

This does not apply to practitioners appointed in open competition to Paediatric Grid posts. Practitioners should refer to the relocation guidance available for the area to which they are appointed. This will not increase the maximum amount payable.

Practitioners that rotate outside of one of the three organisations covered by this guidance as part of the training programme and are already an owner-occupier, in exceptional circumstances, may be eligible for further financial assistance; i.e. a practitioner rotates from Truro to Exeter to Gloucester.

When it is identified that this may be the case the practitioner will need to make a case to the receiving employer where assistance is required.

Where a component of the curriculum cannot be delivered locally and requires the practitioner to undertake an attachment in another organisation the practitioner may be eligible for further financial assistance. When it is identified that this may be the case the practitioner will need to make a case to their organisation where assistance is required.

If as part of the annual review process (ARCP or RITA) it is necessary for a practitioner to change rotations or undertake a placement in another organisation the practitioner may be entitled to additional financial assistance. When it is identified that this may be the case the practitioner will need to make a case to their organisation where assistance is required.

Amount Payable

The maximum financial assistance payable to any practitioner under these guidelines for their whole training programme/rotation, including costs of temporary accommodation and excess daily mileage is £8,000. Further details regarding the maximum amount of financial assistance that may be available dependent on length of training programme/rotation/post is provided below.

According to HM Revenue & Customs “if your employer helps you to move home because of your job, any payments you receive, or any goods or services provided for you, are treated as part of your earnings for tax and national insurance contribution [NICs] purposes. However, the first £8,000 of any help you get from your employer is exempt from tax and NICs as long as certain conditions are met”. Excess travel, which is paid at the public transport rate, will be subject to tax.

You are strongly advised to view the HMRC Relocation Guidance.

Entitlement According to Length of Training Programme/Rotation/Post

Appointments of one year and under

Practitioners appointed to training programmes / posts of one year and under may be entitled to financial assistance which will cover the expenses associated with the removal of effects, plus travelling expenses to take up post. This is at the discretion of the employing organisation if you are moving into the area only.

Appointments of over one year and up to and including two years

Practitioners appointed to training programmes of over one year and up to and including two years may be entitled to financial assistance of up to a maximum of 50% of the maximum financial assistance available subject to eligibility and subject to the full two years being based in the same area. (I.e. an F1 offered a two year appointment must be completing the two years in the same Foundation School to qualify).

Appointments over two years

Practitioners appointed to training programmes of more than two years may be entitled to financial assistance up to a maximum of £8,000 for the duration of the training programme, subject to eligibility. Note: the maximum limit of £8,000 covers whole duration of the training programme; i.e. a practitioner appointed to a two year uncoupled programme (CT1 and CT2) and subsequently appointed to a five year specialty training programme (ST3 – ST7) may be eligible for a maximum limit of £8,000.

The table below provides examples of how a practitioner’s entitlement may be distributed across the entire period of training subject to eligibility

 

ExamplesF1/F2ST1+CT1-2ST3+Total Claimed
Doctor A £2000 £6000     £8000
Doctor B Nil       £4000
Doctor C £1500   £4000   £8000
Doctor D £4000   £4000 £2500 £8000
Doctor E Nil £3500 Nil £4000 £3500
Doctor F £300 £1900     £2200

 

Eligibility for Financial Assistance

Eligibility for Maximum Financial Assistance

The maximum financial assistance (detailed in section 5) may be granted to practitioners, who as a result of their appointment need to sell their home and purchase a home in the new area.

Eligibility for the maximum financial assistance in these circumstances will be subject to the following criteria:

  • The practitioner is a current owner-occupier and is selling this property to take up appointment in the new area and purchasing a property in the new area as an owner-occupier.
  • The Employing Trust agrees a move of home is required based on the following criteria:
    • The new post is more than a 40 miles radius of the practitioner’s previous NHS base or home whichever is the nearer (RAC mileages will apply for reimbursement purposes on the fastest route possible). However, expenses may be paid if the logistics of travel are such that the travelling time from the home of the practitioner to their new base is in excess of one hour calculated at the usual time of travel. This will be determined by the Employing Trust based on the practitioner’s normal mode of transport; or
    • The post requires an out of hours emergency on-call service and the practitioner to live within 30 minutes driving time or 15 miles of their base hospital; or
    • Such other factors, taking into account out of hours or on-call commitments and local Employing Trust policy for other medical staff

The percentage allocation of maximum financial assistance is determined by the length of programme as outlined above. For those practitioners appointed for one year and up to two years, 50% of the maximum financial assistance may be granted and for those appointed for over two years, 100% of the maximum financial assistance may be granted.

Eligibility for Limited Financial Assistance

Limited financial assistance may be granted to practitioners, who as a result of their appointment, need to:

  • Make a move from rented to rented accommodation in the new area. This will also apply to those renting for the first time in the new area. Where this is the case the Employing Trust will only reimburse costs associated with the removal of effects, legal costs (equivalent to establishing a tenancy locally) plus travelling expenses to take up the post.
  • Purchase a property and are classed as a ‘first time buyer’. Where this is the case the Employing Trust will only reimburse costs associated with the removal of effects plus travelling expenses to take up the post.

General Conditions

Relocation expenses (including excess mileage) are at the discretion of the employing Trust. Practitioners must obtain written confirmation from the appropriate Employing Trust of eligibility to claim financial assistance towards relocation to the new area prior to taking up appointment and making any claim. This should include the maximum amount of financial assistance the practitioner will receive for the entire training programme/post.

Practitioners will be required to sign an undertaking that they may be required to repay a proportion of any relocation expenses received if they leave the training programme within 24 months of the contract period of the training programme. The proportion will be according to that element of the contract of employment worked to the full length of that contract of employment/training programme. This applies to those who receive 100% or 50% of the maximum financial assistance as outlined in the Entitlement According to Length of Training section.

Reimbursement will not be made until the practitioner commences in post.

Original receipts will be required as proof of outlay against authorised expenditure. Reimbursement will not be made to third parties.

Claims for expenses in connection with the removal of effects must be made within three months of the incurring authorised expenditure.

Relocation Expenses are reasonable costs incurred in relocation as described in the Summary of Relocation Expenses.

Practitioners are responsible for agreeing in writing any expenditure IN ADVANCE with the Employing Trust, in accordance with these guidelines. Practitioners must indicate their need to claim financial assistance towards relocation by completing the application form (Form 1) prior to the start date and must complete the claim forms WITHIN THREE MONTHS of taking up appointment with each Employing Trust. Applications submitted after the start date and claims submitted after three months will not be accepted.

Practitioners must indicate their intention to claim relocation expenses by completing Form 1 which should be returned to the appropriate Medical Personnel Manager (see Appendix 1 for contact details) prior to the start date before committing to any expenditure. If the application is approved the practitioner must complete the relevant claim form which must be submitted together with the original receipts within three months of the start date.

Practitioners should supply three quotes for solicitors, removals and estate agents and the employer will pay the lowest of the three quotes. Expenses will not be reimbursed unless official receipts support the lowest of the three quotes.

The entitlement to financial assistance for house sale and purchase will be dependent upon the move being completed within twelve months of taking up the new post. It is the responsibility of the practitioner to ensure that the employer is notified of any difficulty otherwise the Employer may refuse to reimburse any expenses incurred.

The practitioner must notify the Employing Trust if a partner/spouse is eligible to claim financial assistance towards relocation. (NB this applies to spouses/partners who are both within NHS and outside NHS). At the discretion of the Employing Trust, practitioners may still be granted reduced financial assistance but cannot claim twice for the same expense.

Practitioners need to be aware that claiming twice will be considered as fraud and will be referred to the NHS Counter Fraud Service to investigate and the practitioner may face disciplinary action.

It is a long established principle that public sector bodies, which include the NHS, must be impartial and honest in the conduct of their business and that their employees should remain beyond suspicion

A conflict of interest is defined as any situation where a person’s involvement in an activity has an actual, potential or perceived effect of influencing the interests, financial or otherwise, of the person, or another individual, business or organisation with whom that person has a familiar formal relationship.

Claimants must declare any conflict of interest with any organisation involved in their removal claim.

Designation of Base Hospital

In all cases the base place of work will be the Hospital/Trust on the rotation closest to where the practitioner lives in the new area, although there may be local circumstances where both the employers and practitioners may wish to reach an alternative agreement.

Due to the rotational nature of the training programme, practitioners in rented accommodation may be eligible for reimbursement of removal expenses for more than one location and the designated base place of work may change as a result.

Practitioners who are owner-occupiers may be eligible for more than one house move where the rotation requires a move of greater distances due to limited opportunities for training. In these very exceptional circumstances additional moves will be considered by a review panel for reimbursement on a case by case basis. Practitioners should not commit to any expenditure until they have received written notification that their request has been successful.

The designated base place of work may change as a result.

Summary of Relocation Expenses Allowable for Owner-Occupiers

This is a list of expenses that practitioners may incur during their relocation to the new area. This list is not exhaustive and does not apply to all practitioners who are eligible for financial assistance in connection with their relocation to the new area. Please refer back to the Entitlement According to Length of Training section and Eligibility for Financial Assistance section for eligibility criteria and details of possible assistance.

Allowances during search for accommodation

These are payable when the practitioners family have remained behind in the old home whilst seeking suitable family accommodation in the new location.

The subsistence allowance will be the long-term night allowance as provided in the Whitley Council rates.

The practitioner will be required to provide evidence (i.e. estate agent details etc) to confirm that they are making every effort to obtain comparable family accommodation in the new location.

The allowances will be paid for up to six months from the date of commencement. At that time, the practitioner will be required to submit a case for an extension of payment for consideration by the Employing Trust. If an extension is granted, further reviews will be undertaken at three monthly intervals. The maximum period of payment will be one year, but may be extended at the Employing Trust’s discretion.

Legal and other expenses connected with sale and purchase of accommodation

Legal and other expenses connected with the sale and purchase of accommodation, or any unsuccessful bona fide attempt to purchase, such as:

House Purchase

  • Solicitors’ fees
  • Estate agents’ or auctioneer’s fees
  • Finders fees
  • Stamp duty
  • Land registration fees
  • Survey fees
  • Incidental legal expenses

House sale

  • Solicitors’ fees
  • Estate agents’ or auctioneer’s fees
  • *Incidental legal expenses including insurance of goods in transit

Other Expenses

  • *Travelling expenses in connection with the move (standard rail or public transport rate)
  • *Subsistence expenses in connection with the move
  • Continuing commitments allowances

and VAT where applicable on any of the above

*Denotes expenses reimbursable when moving from rented property

Excluded expenses

The following expenses will be excluded

  • Interest on bridging loans (Reimbursement of bridging loan charges will not be met in any circumstances).
  • Increase in insurance premiums
  • Payments to cover negative equity in connection with a mortgage
  • Redemption fees in connection with a mortgage

Any of the above excluded expenses will not be met in any circumstances.

Reimbursement of purchase expenses will be limited by reference to the following:

  • The purchase price of a residence considered broadly comparable in standard to the old property and not an improvement. Where there is disagreement over the outcome of any comparison, a local estate agent or other independent valuer acceptable to both parties will be asked to adjudicate.
  • With the agreement of the new employer, the practitioner may claim return travelling expenses and subsistence at General Whitley Council rates for themselves and their family to visit the new area and search for accommodation prior to taking up the new post.

Removal and storage of furniture

The practitioner will be reimbursed any reasonable costs (as agreed with the authorised officer prior to commencement) connected with:

  • Removal of normal household furniture and effects from the old to the new home, including insurance of goods in transit.
  • Three competitive quotations should be obtained for removal and will normally be reimbursed at the lowest cost of the three. If the practitioner uses a self-drive van, reimbursement of the rate of hire, supported by receipts, and mileage will be payable.
  • Storage of furniture and effects for an agreed period will be subject to review by the appropriate Employing Trust.

Continuing commitments allowance

Whilst the old property remains unsold, reasonable accommodation costs may be reimbursed. (Claimants must be in the process of selling their property in the old area to be eligible and provide continuing evidence). Practitioners who are not selling or cannot provide evidence that they are trying to sell their property will not under any circumstances be entitled to financial assistance.

Where it is applicable, reimbursement for continuing commitments should normally be for the lower of the monthly mortgage on the old property and the monthly mortgage/rent on the new property:

  • the basic rental costs for reasonable temporary accommodation (excluding utilities)
  • travelling expenses for visits home at public transport rates or standard rail travel at reasonable intervals to supervise the old property (as a guide, two visits home per month)
  • Council Tax can be reimbursed if the practitioner can show they have tried to have the tax in the old area cancelled but have been unsuccessful.

The allowances will be paid for a maximum of one year or until the old property is sold, whichever is the lesser period.

At intervals of three months from the start of the allowance, the Employing Trust will review the practitioner’s case and will only continue payment if satisfied that they are making every effort to sell their property. This will include price reductions, if appropriate.

The maximum allowance will be the equivalent of the Whitley long-term subsistence rate for the period covered.

Excess Travelling Expenses

Excess travel applies only to those practitioners that are classed as owner-occupiers in the training programme area.

Financial assistance for this purpose is payable only where a move to another hospital/Trust on the rotation would justify moving home and relocation expenses being paid but the practitioner elects to travel the extra distance. This must be agreed in advance with the Employing Trust to ensure there is no breach of the organisation’s health and safety obligations. In circumstances where the Employing Trust would not agree to reimburse relocation expenses, financial assistance would not be available. The definition of Excess travel is the difference between home to hospital and home to base with the excess being reimbursed.

Example 1

Dr X lives in Ashburton, Devon and their base hospital is Torbay Hospital. Dr X rotates to Plymouth Hospitals as part of their training programme.

Home to Plymouth Hospitals = 24 miles

Minus

Home to base = 14 miles

Dr X would not be entitled to excess travelling expenses as this is within 40 miles of the base hospital. (This is for example purposes only)

Example 2

Dr A lives in Ivybridge, Plymouth and their base hospital is Plymouth Hospitals. Dr A rotates to the Treliske Hospital as part of their training programme.

Home to Treliske = 63 miles

Minus

Home to Plymouth Hospitals = 10 miles

Dr A would be entitled to submit a claim for excess travelling expenses as this exceeds 40 miles from home to base and home to new hospital. Dr A could claim 53 miles in excess travelling expenses being the difference of home to base and home to new hospital. (This is for example purposes only)

Example 3

Dr B lives near Winchester and their base hospital is Winchester Hospital. Dr B rotates to Poole Hospital which is part of the training programme.

Home to Poole = 34 miles

Minus

Home to base = 11 miles

Dr B would not be entitled to excess travelling expenses as this is within 40 miles of the base hospital. (This is for example purposes only)

Example 4

Dr C lives in Alton, Hampshire and their base hospital is Basingstoke Hospital. Dr C rotates to Poole Hospital.

Home to Poole Hospital = 62 miles

Minus

Home to Base = 15 miles

Dr C would be entitled to submit a claim for excess travelling expenses as this exceeds 40 miles from home to base and home to new hospital. Dr C could claim 47 miles in excess travelling expenses being the difference of home to base and home to new hospital. (This is for example purposes only)

Reimbursement is at public transport rate in line with Inland Revenue requirements.

When a rotation to a peripheral unit would otherwise justify a move of home and the distance is too far to commute daily and the practitioner has a permanent residence (owner-occupier) in the “base” area, the practitioner may claim reasonable temporary accommodation costs in the peripheral unit. “Reasonable” accommodation costs are the rent charges on accommodation of a reasonable standard, taking into account your standard of accommodation in the “base” area and family situation.

The expenses detailed are included within the overall maximum financial assistance available of £8,000 for the entire training programme/rotation and will only be reimbursed where the practitioner has not already claimed up to the maximum financial assistance at any Hospital/Trust on the training programme/rotation. Where a practitioner has already received the maximum financial assistance available of £8,000 for a move of home, excess travel expenses detailed will NOT be reimbursed.

Guidance and Interpretation

Any guidance or interpretation of these guidelines should be raised with the Employing Trust’s Medical HR/Personnel.

Rights of Appeal

Employing Trusts should be aware that an individual practitioner who feels that they have been unfairly treated in relation to financial assistance for the purposes of relocation provisions may pursue this matter as a grievance in accordance with the relevant Employing Trust’s Grievance Procedure.

Review

These guidelines have been drawn up in consultation with the Employing Trusts within the respective geographical areas and will be reviewed as and when necessary but at least every three years.