National fraud initiative
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 was responsible for carrying out data matching exercises until this function was transferred to the Cabinet Office on 1 April 2015 when the Audit Commission was abolished. Information provided by the Cabinet Office on the National Fraud Initiative (the title given to this exercise) can be found on the Cabinet Office's web page on the National Fraud Initiative on the GOV.UK website.
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 current data matching exercise being undertaken by us is based on particular sets of data that were requested by the Audit Commission prior to it being disbanded and these are set out in guidance that can be still be found on the Audit Commission's web page on the 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 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' on the GOV.UK website.
For further information on the Audit Commission's legal powers and the reasons why particular information is being matched in the current exercise, see the Audit Commission's web page on 'Fair Processing Notice'.
For more information see the Cabinet Office's web page on Fair Processing: National Fraud Initiative on the GOV.UK website.
Future NFI exercises will use the powers given to the Minister for the Cabinet Office by Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The existing Code of Data Matching Practice will continue in effect until the Minister for the Cabinet Office issues a new Code. The Code is subject to review following completion of each NFI exercise. Any changes proposed to the Code will be consulted upon before a new Code is finalised and laid before Parliament.