We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Audit Commission appoints the auditor to audit our accounts. It is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.
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 is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error, or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.
The Audit Commission currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Audit Commission for matching for each exercise, and these are set out in guidance on the Audit Commission's webpage national fraud initiative (NFI).
The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a code of data matching practice.
For further information on the Audit Commission's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see the Audit Commissions webpage on fair processing notice.
As part of the requirements of Circular HB/CTB F1/2010 issued by the Department for Work and Pensions, we may also supply Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit data to Experian, a credit reference agency, in order to check the accuracy of information, prevent or detect crime and to protect public funds. Housing Benefit fraud investigations may also include checks on undeclared cohabiters.
For further information on data matching at this authority:
Contact: Senior Auditor
Telephone: 01768 212227
Fax: 01768 212229
Address: Eden District Council, Town Hall, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 7QF