National Fraud Initiative (NFI)

Milton Keynes Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud. One such method is by the use of data matching.

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 Cabinet Office 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 Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise.

The use of this data by the Cabinet office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority transferred from the former Audit Commission. Therefore, from 1st April 2015, future NFI exercises will use the powers given to the Minister for the Cabinet Office by Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.  NFI exercises do not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to the existing Code of Practice formerly introduced by the Audit Commission until the Minister for the Cabinet Office issues a new code.

For further information on the Cabinet Office’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-data-matching-practice-for-national-fraud-initiative.

Last Updated: 30 November 2017