National Fraud Initiative
We're required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information given to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Cabinet Office carries out a national data matching exercise called the National Fraud Initiative (NFI).
Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This usually relates to personal information. From October 2012 a new requirement was introduced to submit personal identifiers such as contact details. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it indicates that there's an inconsistency that requires further investigation.
No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or something else until an investigation is carried out.
The Cabinet Office currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We're required to provide particular sets of data to the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise. These are set out in its guidance, which can be found on their website.
From 1 April 2015 the NFI will be conducted using the data matching powers bestowed on the minister for the Cabinet Office by Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It doesn't require the consent of the individuals concerned under the data protection legislation.
Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a code of practice.
For further information on the Cabinet Office's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, take a look at its Fair Processing Agreement. For further information on data matching at this authority, please contact Audit Services on 01743 257737.