Preventing fraud in our borough
We are very conscious of the need to protect the public funds we administer, to provide value for money, prevent fraud and error and to ensure that the public money we manage is properly spent.
As part of our anti-fraud initiative, in order to prevent and detect fraud, we are able to share the information it holds with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, such as the Audit Commission.
National Fraud Initiative (NFI)
The Audit Commission runs a scheme called the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) which carries out data matching exercises throughout the United Kingdom. The data matching has been ongoing since 1996 and we have participated since the scheme began.
Data matching involves comparing records held by us against other records held by us and other bodies. This can include personal information. Data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it indicates 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 Audit Commission requires us to participate in the data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud under their 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. The authority is therefore required by law to provide particular sets of data to the Audit Commission for matching. This data matching takes place every two years and is due to happen again in 2010/11.
The data extraction for the matches is scheduled to happen in October 2010. The information is then passed to the Audit Commission for them to match with the data from local government, central government, the NHS and a number of private sector pension bodies. The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames matches identified are then passed back to us for investigation. The matches are expected to be ready for our investigation in January 2011.