National Fraud Initiative (NFI)
The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) is an exercise that matches electronic data within and between public and private sector bodies throughout the United Kingdom to prevent and detect fraud.
- Central government
- Local councils
- Police Fire and rescue authorities
- A number of private sector bodies
Stirling Council, which participates in the NFI, is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. We may share certain information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) in Scotland is led by Audit Scotland. We are required to provide particular sets of data to Audit Scotland for matching as instructed by Audit Scotland.
NFI uses computerised techniques to compare information about individuals held by different bodies, and on different financial systems, to identify circumstances(data matches) that might suggest the existence of fraud or error.
Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match.This is usually personal information.
Identifying Fraudulent Claims and Payments
Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified but the inclusion of personal data within a data matching exercise does not mean that any specific individual is under suspicion. Where a match is found it indicates that there may be 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 exercise can also help bodies to ensure that their records are up to date.
Audit Scotland’s instructions, legal powers and the reasons why particular information is matched is available via the Cabinet Office website, with the full text privacy notice and Data Matching Code of Practice.
The use of data by Audit Scotland in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority, normally under its powers in Part 2A of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.Further information on the NFI is also available at the Audit Scotland website.
- Audit Scotland: Code of Data Matching Practice (PDF, 1.9MB )
- Audit Scotland: Privacy Notice (PDF, 106KB)
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