Data sharing for the prevention and detection of fraud

Fraud costs the public sector over around £20 billion per year. At least £2 billion is in local government. It's therefore in all our interests to prevent fraud from occurring. Each pound lost reduces the ability to provide public services.

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council is required, by law, to protect the public funds it administers. It may share details provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing, administering public funds, or where undertaking a public function. This is done in order to prevent and detect fraud.

National Fraud Initiative

The Cabinet Office is in charge of 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 details. 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 needs to be looked into. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until it's been looked into.

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative: a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We have to provide certain sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise. This is detailed on the government's National Fraud Initiative website.

The processing of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It doesn't require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to the Code of Data Matching Practice.

See further details on the Cabinet Office’s legal powers and the reason why it matches particular information on the National Fraud Initiative privacy notice.

Data sharing with a specified anti-fraud organisation

Section 68 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 was introduced as part of the Government’s commitment to preventing fraud. Section 68 enables public authorities such as Barnsley Council to disclose information for the purposes of preventing fraud, as a member of a specified anti-fraud organisation or otherwise, in accordance with any arrangements made with such an organisation.

A specified anti-fraud organisation enables or facilitates the sharing of information for the prevention of fraud, and is specified by an order made by the Secretary of State. Disclosures of information from a public authority to a specified anti-fraud organisation are subject to a Code of Practice and this, along with a full list of specified anti-fraud organisation we may share information with, can be found on the Home Office Data sharing for the prevention of fraud: code of practice.

In addition, all disclosures must be made in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR.