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Data Matching and the National Fraud Initiative
By law, Brighton & Hove City Council is required to protect the public funds it administers and we may share information given to us with other organisations responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Audit Commission appoints the auditor to audit the council’s accounts and is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.
Data matching involves comparing our departments’ computer records with those of other departments or other organisations. This usually involves personal information and can allow potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. If an inconsistency is found, we can then investigate further. No assumption will be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until this investigation is carried out.
The Audit Commission asks us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to send them particular sets of data for a number of matching exercises, as detailed in the Audit Commission’s guidance at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/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 individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice, as set out at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/nfi.
For further information on the Audit Commission’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, please see their website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/nfi.
For further information on data matching at Brighton & Hove City Council, please contact the Data Protection Officer on (01273) 291207.