Basildon District 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.
The Audit Commission conducts data matching exercises to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. This is one of the ways in which the Audit Commission meets its responsibility of promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public money.
Data matching involves comparing sets of data, such as the payroll or benefits records of a body, against other records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. The data is usually personal information. The data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency that 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 processing of data by the Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.
All bodies participating in the Audit Commission's data matching exercises receive a report of matches that they should investigate, so as to detect instances of fraud, over- or under-payments and other errors, to take remedial action and update their records accordingly.
Since 1996, the Audit Commission's National Fraud Initiative (NFI) has led to the detection of fraud and over-payments totalling in excess of £664 million.
From 2008 the Commission will conduct data matching exercises under its new statutory power in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. Previous exercises were conducted as part of the statutory audit prescribed by the Audit Commission Act 1998.
Under the new powers:
Currently, the Commission requires the following bodies to provide data:
In addition, the following bodies provide data to the Commission for matching on a voluntary basis:
For information describing which datasets are matched by the Audit Commission please see the data specifications on Audit Commission web site.
A document that summarises the various match types for each particular type of participating organisation can be downloaded from the Fair processing notice web page on the Audit Commission website.
Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice.
For further information on the Audit Commission's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information,
Please refer to the Audit Commission website
See also 'Related Links' (this page, right hand column).
Alternatively please write to,
Head of NFI,
1st Floor, Millbank Tower
Phone:0844 798 2222 (local call rate)