National Fraud Initiative

Lancaster City Council has a legal duty to protect the public funds it administers and to take measures to prevent and detect fraud. Some of these measures include sharing information with other bodies responsible for administering and auditing public funds.

One way this is done is via the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) - a statutory nationwide drive to crack down on the amount of public money lost each year through fraud. The council participates in data matching exercises and provides data to the Audit Commission including:

  • Council tax
  • Electoral registration
  • Trade creditors
  • Residents' parking permits
  • Concessionary travel passes
  • Insurance claimaints
  • Licenses (including taxi drivers, personal licenses to sell alcohol, market traders/operators)
  • Housing (right to buy tenants)

Fair processing notice

Lancaster City Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd appoints the auditor to audit the accounts of this authority. It is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.

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. 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 there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

The Government currently requires this authority to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. The authority is required to provide particular sets of data to the Cabinet Office for each data matching exercise, and these are set out in the Cabinet Office’s guidance.

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 data matching practice.

Further information

For further information on the Cabinet Office’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see the Fair Processing Notice - full text.

Last updated: 02 August 2016