Anti-fraud work and National Fraud Initiative

Southwark Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. We may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, law enforcement agencies, or undertake local anti-fraud initiatives, in order to prevent and detect fraud or money laundering. If false or inaccurate information is provided and fraud is identified, details will be passed to fraud prevention agencies for the prevention of further fraud and money laundering.

From 1 April 2015 the National Fraud Initiative will be conducted using the data matching powers bestowed on the Minister for the Cabinet Office by Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (LAAA). Previous exercises were conducted by the Audit Commission under Part IIA of the Audit Commission Act 1998. The provision of data by the council to the Minister does not require the consent of the individuals concerned.

Data matching involves comparing sets of data, such as the payroll or Council Tax 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, payments and information 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 Cabinet Officer 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, and these are set out in the Cabinet Office’s guidance, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-data-matching-practice-for-national-fraud-initiative .

For further information on the Cabinet Office’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fair-processing-national-fraud-initiative/fair-processing-level-3-full-text . For further information on data matching at Southwark contact Norman Coombe on 020 7525 7678.

Page last updated: 30 November 2017