Data sharing for the prevention and detection of fraud

Fraud is estimated to cost the public sector over £20 billion per year, of which at least £2 billion is in local government. It's therefore in all our interests to prevent fraud from occurring as 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 information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing, administering public funds, or where undertaking a public function, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

National Fraud Initiative

The Cabinet Office is 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.

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative: a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise, as detailed on the government's 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 does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998 or the GDPR.

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

View further information on the Cabinet Office’s legal powers and the reason why it matches particular information.

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 website here.

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