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National fraud initiative

Law requires us to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds. This is in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The Cabinet Office's web page provides information on the National Fraud Initiative.

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body. This is to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching can identify potentially fraudulent claims and payments. Where there is a match, it may indicate that there is an inconsistency. This will require further investigation. Until there is an investigation, there is no assumption as to whether there is fraud, error, or other explanation.

We base the current data matching exercise on particular sets of data. The Audit Commission requested the data. The Audit Commission disbanded in 2015. You can find guidance on the Audit Commission's web page on the National Fraud Initiative (NFI).

Under the Audit Commission’s powers, in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998, statutory authority permits the use of data in a data matching exercise. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data matching is subject to a Code of Data Matching Practice. For further information, go to the Cabinet Office's web page on 'Code of data matching practice for the National Fraud Initiative'.

See the Audit Commission's web page on 'Fair Processing Notice' for information on the legal powers and reasons for matching information.

See the Cabinet Office's web page on Fair Processing: National Fraud Initiative for more information.

Future NFI exercises will use the powers given to the Minister for the Cabinet Office. This is by Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The existing Code of Data Matching Practice will continue until the Minister for the Cabinet Office issues a new Code. The Code is subject to review following completion of each NFI exercise. There is consultation on any changes proposed to the Code before a new Code is finalised and laid before Parliament.