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National fraud initiative

We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We might share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds. We might also share with bodies undertaking a public function, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative, a data-matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Cabinet Office for each exercise.

Data matching involves comparing sets of digital records held by on body against other 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 could indicate an inconsistency that requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or any other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

The Cabinet Office has statutory authority to use the data in data-matching exercises, 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, but it is subject to a code of practice.