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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Companies must tackle ‘mundane’ duty-of-care issues

Travel managers need to make sure they consider more “mundane” day-to-day duty-of-care issues when looking at their travel programmes.

While there is a lot of focus on dealing with major incidents and disruption, organisations also need to make sure they are prepared for everyday issues, such as ensuring travellers have the right paperwork and visas, or dealing with situations such as lost and stolen passports and travellers forgetting to take their medicines on trips.

The issue was discussed in a session called Future-Proof Your Travel Programme Without Compromising on Duty of Care at the Business Travel Show in London.

The session was led by Emma Maslen, UK & Ireland managing director for SAP Concur, who said: “There are a lot of grey areas and lots of things to consider. There are lots of people who are going to play a role in duty-of-care.”

Rajesh Bhundia, a partner at accountancy firm EY, said it was important not to forget the “boring stuff” such as tax and immigration issues that could potentially affect travellers.

“There are increasing cases of individuals travelling on the wrong paperwork – such as using a leisure visa for business purposes,” he added. “This can have real personal consequences for a traveller. You should make sure people get the right paperwork before they even book their travel.”

Bhundia also said he had heard of cases where travellers had been refused permission to leave a country by immigration officers because they had not paid the required taxes.

Tim Burgess, Uber for Business’ UK country manager, warned about possible scams at some airports involving unlicensed taxi drivers falsely claiming to be the driver of the vehicle that the traveller had booked.

“Any time you jump into a vehicle, there’s a degree of safety that you have to consider,” he added. “My advice is to go out and do your research to see where you can improve duty-of-care.”

Road traffic accidents can be one of the most common incidents to affect travellers, said Claire McKinnon, UK sales director for security firm Healix International.

“There is a moral and legal obligation to look after the safety of travellers and employees,” she added. “Clients are reaching out to us to deliver that duty-of-care 24 hours a day. We look at how they can mitigate that risk.

“When it does go wrong, there can be big consequences if you’re not looking after people properly. This can lead to both reputation and brand damage.”

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