The Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative (NFI) is a data matching exercise to match electronic data within and between participating bodies to prevent and detect fraud and error. We are required to participate in the NFI and provide particular sets of data to the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise, as detailed here.
The use of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.
To ensure that personal information is protected any person or body conducting or participating in the Cabinet Office’s data matching exercises must, alongside existing fair processing and other compliance requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998, have due regard to a Code of Data Matching Practice. The Code of Data Matching Practice has been drawn up following consultation with the Information Commissioner and other public bodies.
We have participated in the NFI, which was originally run under the auspices of the Audit Commission, for many years. In June 2014 the Audit Commission published a report which stated that since its launch in 1996, the NFI had enabled its participants to detect fraud, overpayments and errors totalling £1.17 billion. Further details can be found on the government publications website.
In discharging our duty to protect tax payers and ensure the public funds we administer are correctly spent, we may also share the information we hold with other organisations, including government departments, local authorities and private-sector companies such as banks solely for the purposes of the prevention and detection of fraud, where the law allows this.