The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) is a data matching exercise designed to detect and prevent fraud and overpayments across England and Wales. NFI is a mandatory exercise for the County Council and is performed every two years by the Auditor General.
As a public body, we are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Auditor General is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises under his powers under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004.
Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body. 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 which 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 Auditor General for Wales currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Auditor General for matching. Details are set out on the Wales Audit Office website
As the use of data by the Auditor General for Wales in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority (Part 3A of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004), it does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Data matching by the Auditor General is subject to a Code of Practice. This may be found at the Wales Audit Office website
For further information on the Auditor General’s legal powers and the reasons why he matches particular information, see the Level 3 Notice (full text fair processing notice) on the Wales Audit Office website
(Data is transmitted to the Auditor General using an upload facility which enables data to be submitted securely (using SSL encryption). This facility is contained within the existing secure NFI web application and consequently provides the same controlled access environment.
For information on the process followed by Flintshire County Council contact Dave Stephens (01352) 702228.