From rLab

Expenses policy and financial controls[edit]

Date 2023.08.28 Version 1.00 Expenses policy and financial controls


As per | clause 6.5 of the Framework Document this policy is decided and maintained by RMS Ltd. All changes to this policy should only be made by, or with the approval of, the Conpany Directors.

General approach[edit]

When purchasing day-to-day items or equipment for rLAB members should purchase the items, subject to the approval limits below, and claim the expense back from rLAB via the expenses inbox. Copies of any invoices and receipts are required to support all claims and for the statutory financial records of Reading Maker Space Limited (“RMSL”). Please see the Approvals and claim submission and Spending limits sections below.

Day-to-day items includes replacements of consumables such as nuts and bolts, drill bits, blue roll, cleaning products, snacks etc. It also includes items required maintain or repair any existing rLAB equipment such as oils or replacement of broken parts. If in doubt, ask a director before purchasing the items.

For new equipment or replacing existing equipment the normal spending limits do not apply. Please see the new equipment policy below.

Approvals and claim submission[edit]

All approvals and claims should be submitted through the expenses inbox – expenses@rlab.org.uk. Directors are also required to submit a claim email to the inbox when making purchases.

If the spend is below the limit where director approval is required, then an email with a copy of the invoice or receipt along with the bank details for repayment is sufficient.

For spend requiring approval, as a minimum, a brief description of the nature of the spend and the total cost to be incurred should be included. If there are multiple items of differing nature within a single request sufficient detail to understand the separate purchases should be included.

For purchases where approval is required and the exact cost is not known at the time of the request, if the actual cost breaches the next approval limit then no further approval is required if the actual cost is within 20% of the initial expectation.

Following approval and purchase the invoices / receipts should be sent in the same chain as the approval request / subsequent approvals, along with the bank details for repayment.

Should it not be possible to provide the receipt / invoice in electronic form, please email the claim to the inbox as normal and provide the receipt/invoices to one of the directors.

Approval limits (Expenses) (Approval Boundaries)[edit]

The following limits apply to day-to-day spending for all rLAB members, including directors. Should a director be the purchaser they shall be deemed a member for the purpose of approvals.

• Any member may spend up to £50 without prior approval.

• Spend between £50 and £150 requires prior approval from a single director.

• Spend between £150 and £250 requires prior approval of two directors.

• Spend between £250 and £1,000 requires prior approval from three directors.

• Spend over £1,000 requires approval from all directors. The members should also be notified and a suitable amount of time given for any concerns or questions to be raised prior to purchase.

Should any member (including directors) abuse, try to circumnavigate, or breach the spending limits and put in a claim without approval they may be required to get prior approval for all future purchases or, in repeat cases, not be reimbursed.

Should a member regularly make a common purchase (such as drinks) they may be given pre-approval for these. In such cases a register shall be kept.

Expense and payment processing[edit]

Following receipt of an expense claim, a director shall review to ensure the appropriate approvals have been provided for the level on spend. They shall then input the claim into Xero and attach a copy of the receipt/invoice to the transaction for RMSL records.

The payment shall then be entered into the bank and the repayment made to the claiming member.

New equipment[edit]

The below is designed as guidance for proposals for new or replacement equipment to bring into the space.

Whether rLAB will purchase any new equipment will firstly be based upon the number of anticipated users. If it is just 1 or 2 people it is unlikely rLAB will cover the costs. You will be welcome to bring it to the space to use, provided it does not pose any hazards to other members, but you will need to purchase and store if yourself. Where there is a clear demand for equipment (eg 5 or more people) then there is likely a case for it to be purchased.

When putting a proposal together the following should be considered;[edit]

• What is it that you want and what do you want to do? Is this something that can be achieved by equipment rLAB already has? If it can it does not mean we can’t get the new equipment but there should be good reasoning to do so.

• How large is the equipment and where will it be stored? Can the equipment be broken down when not in use? The lab is generally short of space and we need to keep work areas, bench tops, the loading bay, etc. free for people to work on projects.

• Will any existing tools need to be disposed of to make room for the new equipment. As above, this does not mean we can’t get it but there should be good reasoning as to why this equipment is more important that the existing equipment.

• If you want to build something custom, are you willing to commit the time to build it within a reasonable timescale – the space can’t be a dumping ground for half finished projects.

• Would the equipment be potentially dangerous or require special instruction to use (consider a portable drill as a reference). Will you be willing to write-up and offer inductions?

• Is there interest from others within the space and how many people would be willing to help? Should you wish to proceed then a detailed specification should be agreed between all interest parties and a proposal put together. A proposal should include:

• The equipment we are buying and any ancillaries along with costs and estimate delivery times.

• If it is a customer build project here should be a commitment from those willing to do the work, defined time lines and evidence you have the required competencies if applicable.

• Where it will be stored and, if applicable, the plan for items currently in that location.

• If any existing equipment will need to be disposed of, reasoning why the new equipment should take precedence.

• Details of any works that would be required to the space itself to accommodate the new equipment (eg power supply) and who will carry these out.

• Any health and safety considerations that will be needed.

• If applicable, a commitment from those willing to write and provide inductions.

• A commitment from someone to maintain the equipment.

New equipment (Approval Boundaries)[edit]

Once a proposal is submitted it shall be reviewed by directors for initial comments. Following this and any amendments the membership shall be notified based on the following limits:

• Total costs up to £500 – Membership notified and given 1 week to raise any questions/concerns/objections. Unless any serious objections are raised the proposal is deemed to go ahead.

• Total costs up to £1,000 - Membership notified and given 2 weeks to raise any questions/concerns/objections. Unless any serious objections are raised the proposal is deemed to go ahead.

• Total costs up to £2,500 - Membership notified and given 3 weeks to raise any questions/concerns/objections. Unless any objections are raised the proposal is deemed to go ahead.

• Total costs over £2,500 - Membership notified and given 3 weeks to raise any questions/concerns/objections. Following this period an approval vote lasting 1 week is carried out to determine if the purchase shall go ahead.


Expenses PRE 2023.08.28[edit]

When spending rLab funds the approach is to buy the item using your own funds and then claim a repayment using the Xero expense system. Electronic copies of the receipt MUST be provided as part of the expense claim. If you regularly purchase items for rLab we will provide access to Xero for you to raise your own expenses claims. One off claims should be passed to a Director who can create the expense claim on your behalf.

If you are in any doubt over whether the spend is OK you should seek approval from a director BEFORE buying the item.

Spending limits PRE 2023.08.28[edit]

Cash limits listed below are considered to be outstanding spend - i.e. spending which has not yet been reimbursed through the expenses system.

  • Any member can spend up to £25 to replace consumables or broken items without prior approval - e.g. replacement drill bits, solder iron tips, etc
  • Directors may replace routine consumables without it affecting other spending limits
  • Any director can spend up to £200 without prior approval (The replacement of routine consumables does not impact this spending limit)
  • Any spend outside these limits requires the approval of 2 directors before the spend takes place, one of which can be the director spending the money.
  • Very large spends and major new tools should follow the "Getting new Kit" policy