Data Matching Exercise
Updated: 17 May 2013
We are required to protect the public funds we administer. We may therefore share information that is provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
The Comptroller and Auditor General audits our accounts and is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises under his powers in Articles 4A to 4G of the Audit and Accountability (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.
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 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 Comptroller and Auditor General currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Comptroller and Auditor General for matching. Details are set out on the Northern Ireland Audit Office website, or in the case of exercises done on his behalf by the Audit Commission at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/nfi.
The use of data by the Comptroller and Auditor General 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 1998.
Data matching by the Comptroller and Auditor General is subject to a Code of Practice. A copy of the Code of Practice together with further information on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s legal powers and the reasons why he matches particular information can be found at www.niauditoffice.gov.uk.