National Fraud Initiative (NFI)
As part of the council's fraud prevention and detection activities, the council participates in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). The data matching exercise is run by the Cabinet Office.
Data matching involves comparing sets of data, such as the payroll or benefits records of a body, against other records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. The data is usually personal information. The data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate 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 processing of data in a data matching exercise is carried out Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under data protection legislation or the GDPR.
All bodies participating in the Cabinet Office’s data matching exercises receive a report of matches that they should investigate, so as to detect instances of fraud, overpayments or underpayments and other errors, to take remedial action and update their records accordingly.