National fraud initiative

The Fire Authority is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The Audit Commission 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 is usually personal information. From October 2012 there is a new requirement 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 is an inconsistency that 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. These are set out in the Audit Commission’s guidance, which can be found on their website

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 Practice. This can be found at the link on this page: Audit Commission - 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 Commission Fair Processing Agreement. For further information on data matching at this authority contact Joanne Coadey on 01743 260215.

30th September, 2014