Data matching and the National Fraud Initiative (NFI)
Like all local authorities, Cheshire West and Chester Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers and to ensure that they are used effectively and economically in the delivery of services. As a consequence, the Council may share information provided to it, both internally and externally, with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud. This also includes the detection and prevention of overpayments and errors.
To assist the Council in achieving these aims every two years Cheshire West and Chester participates in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). This means that the Council is required to provide particular sets of data to the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise.
Where to find help
Information can also be found on the Gov.UK website.
Data matching involves comparing electronic data held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to identify any inconsistencies that require further investigation. For example, these inconsistencies may indicate persons who are not receiving the correct amount of benefits; overpayments of care charges or pensions in respect of deceased persons; duplicate payments to trade creditors; fraudulent insurance claims; or just errors in recording personal data such as dates of birth or national insurance numbers.
There is a Code of Data Matching Practice which all NFI participants are expected to follow. Further information on The Code of Data Matching Practice can be found on the Cabinet Office website.
For further information on the Cabinet Office's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, including the statutory framework, visit the Cabinet Office website.
As a Council we are keen to make the most effective use of the NFI function and ensure that any risks identified are followed up with appropriate action.