We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Cabinet Office appoints an auditor to audit our accounts and 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 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 has been carried out.
We participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud and we provide particular sets of data to the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise; these are set out in the National Fraud Initiative by the Cabinet Office.
The use of data by the Cabinet Office 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 Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice.
View more information on the Cabinet Office's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information.