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, or where undertaking a public function, to prevent and detect fraud.
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 may indicate 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 is also responsible for carrying out National data matching exercises which we are required to participate in, known as the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). This is a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise as shown on the GOV.UK website.
The use of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with legal authority 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. Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice.
View further information on the Cabinet Office's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information.