Protecting Public Funds
We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) audits our accounts and as such is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises. This is to assist the prevention and detection of fraud under statutory powers contained in Articles 4A to 4H of the Audit and Accountability (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 as inserted by the Serious Crime Act 2007.
What does data matching involve?
Data matching involves comparing records held by the same, or another body, to see how far they match.
The data exchanged may contain personal information and the use of data by the C&AG in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority.
Article 6(1) of the General Data Protection Regulations (2018) and Section 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018 provide the legal basis for processing personal data under the National Fraud Initiative – specifically, it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in exercise of the data controller’s official authority. As such the sharing of information does not require the consent of the individuals concerned.
Computerised data matching allows 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 there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.
More information about data matching
We are required by the C&AG to participate in a data matching exercise and provide particular sets of data for matching. Details are set out on the NIAOs website.
Data matching by the C&AG is subject to a Code of Practice.
The Privacy Notice on the NIAO website provides further information on the legal powers of C&AG and the reasons for matching particular information.
If you still have any queries relating to our data matching, please contact Deborah Reynolds, Head of Planning, Performance & Governance on 028 9266 4221 or [email protected].