National Fraud Initiative

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The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) is a data-matching exercise that helps detect and prevent fraud and overpayments from the public purse across the UK.

The NFI 2012-13, resulted in the detection and prevention of overpayments worth £4 million.

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 Auditor General for Wales appoints the auditor to audit the accounts of this authority. He 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. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found, it may indicate that there is 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 Auditor General currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. The Auditor General requires us to provide information it holds for this purpose. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Auditor General for matching for each exercise, and these are set out in the Auditor General’s handbooks of which can be found on their website.

The use of data by the Auditor General in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 3A of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data matching by the Auditor General is subject to a Code of Practice.

For further information on the Auditor General’s legal powers and the reasons why he matches particular information view the Wales Audit Office website