Data matching and sharing for the prevention and detection of fraud

Fraud is said to cost the public sector over £20 billion per year, of which at least £2 billion is in local government. It is in all our interests to stop fraud from happening. We are required by law to make sure we protect the public funds that we look after. Each pound lost reduces the way to provide public services to Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, along with Berneslai Homes. Information given may be shared with other bodies who do auditing, administering public funds, or taking part in a public activity, in order to stop or find out fraud.

National Fraud Initiative

The Cabinet Office carry’s out data matching exercises.

Data matching is the comparing of computer records held by one body at the side of 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 possible fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an something wrong which requires further looking into. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

We take part 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 give particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise, as detailed on the government’s website.

The gathering of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is done with statutory authority under its powers in 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 2018.

Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice.

View further details on the Cabinet Office’s legal powers and the reason why it matches particular information.

Data sharing with a specified anti-fraud organisation

Section 68 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 was introduced as part of the Government’s commitment to preventing fraud. Section 68 lets public authorities such as Barnsley Council (and this includes Berneslai Homes) to disclose information for the purposes of preventing fraud, as a member of a specified anti-fraud organisation or otherwise, in accordance with any arrangements made with such an organisation.

A specified anti-fraud organisation enables or facilitates the sharing of information for the prevention of fraud, and is specified by an order made by the Secretary of State. Disclosures of information from a public authority to a specified anti-fraud organisation are subject to a Code of Practice and this, along with a full list of specified anti-fraud organisation we may share information with, can be found on the Home Office website here.

In addition, all disclosures must be made in accordance with Data Protection Legislation.