NILGOSC 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.
The Local Government Auditor audits the accounts of NILGOSC and the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises under his powers in Articles 4A to 4H of the Audit and Accountability (Northern Ireland) Order 2003, as amended by the Serious Crime Act 2007.
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.
NILGOSC is required to participate in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching exercises to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud and provides particular sets of data to the C&AG for matching. Details are set out in the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s website, www.niauditoffice.gov.uk. The Cabinet Office carries out the key aspects of the exercise on behalf of the C&AG, including the collection and processing of data.
For further information on the C&AG’s legal powers and the reasons why he matches particular information, see the Comptroller and Auditor General’s data matching exercises Privacy Notice on the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s website at www.niauditoffice.gov.uk.
The use of data by the C&AG in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 2018. However, data matching by the C&AG is subject to a Code of Data Practice, which can be found at www.niauditoffice.gov.uk/national-fraud-initiative.
For further information on data matching at NILGOSC, please contact the Governance Team, by telephone on 0345 3197 320 or by email at email@example.com.