Clifford Chance chief berates staff for taxi abuse

Clifford Chance chief berates staff for taxi abuse” />Clifford Chance London managing partner Jeremy Sandelson has emailed staff to warn them about escalating taxi costs as the firm looks to tighten its belt during the economic downturn.

The firm will now monitor the use of taxis and will re-examine its taxi expenses policy if costs do not decrease.

Sandelson sent a firmwide email to staff yesterday (25 February), which read: “In the light of the difficult economic climate, of which I am sure you are all aware, we are reviewing our expenditure on taxis in the London office, as this has risen to unacceptable levels.”

The firm’s current taxi policy is that taxis can only be taken if working legitimately on firm business after 9pm in winter and 10pm in summer. Taxi costs should never exceed £60 but, according to Sandelson, taxis are often kept waiting outside the office for long periods with the meters running.

The new HMRC tax guidance on taxis was also referred to by Sandelson, as effectively almost doubling the cost of staff taxis home to the firm, as reported on 11 January.

As Sandelson wrote: “A fare of £60 can cost the firm £100.”

He continued to complain about staff abusing the taxi system: “Prudent management of all our costs is of course important at all times and especially so in quieter times.

“Reports have come to my attention of people going out socialising and then returning to the office to get a taxi or simply hanging around the office until they can get a ‘free’ taxi home.”

Sandelson was unavailable for comment but a firm spokesperson said: “All he was doing was reminding people of the taxi policy.”