We are required by law to protect the public funds that it administers. It may share some information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.
The Cabinet Office is responsible for auditing the accounts of the council. 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 shows that there is an inconsistency which needs further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.
The Cabinet Office requires us to take part in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We have to give some sets of data to the Cabinet Office for matching in each exercise, and these are set out in the guidance, which can be found on the National Fraud Initiative website.
From 1 April 2015, responsibility for National Fraud Initiative (NFI) passed from the Audit Commission to the Cabinet Office. 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 use of data by the Cabinet Office for data matching is carried out under its powers in Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act (LAAA) 2014, and does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998. The full text of the National Fraud Initiative privacy notice can be found here.
Data matching follows a Code of Practice that you can find on the Gov.uk website.
For further information on the legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, visit the Gov.uk website or contact Neil Evans, Principal Auditor on 01472 323903.