Northamptonshire County Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. We will share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
Preventing and detecting fraud
The Cabinet office currently requires councils 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 in each exercise they undertake, and these are set out in the Commission's National Fraud Initiative guidance.
The Cabinet office appoints the auditor who examines our accounts. It is also responsible for carrying out what are called data matching exercises.
Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against similar records held by the council or another body to see how far they match. This usually includes 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 fraud, error or another explanation is responsible until an investigation is carried out.
The use of data by the Cabinet office 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.
Data matching by the Cabinet office is subject to a code of practice. The Commission also publishes its legal powers and its reasoning for matching particular information.