Data sharing and matching

National Fraud Initiative (NFI) - Data Matching

We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. In order to prevent and detect fraud, we are required to share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds.

The NFI is an anti-fraud data matching exercise carried out by the Audit Commission and is the largest public sector anti-fraud exercise carried out in the UK.

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by either the same or another body. This is invariably personal information and is, therefore, subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.

Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent or erroneous claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate an inconsistency requiring further investigation. No assumption is made as to whether there is a fraud, error or some other explanation, until an investigation is carried out.

The Audit Commission requires us to provide a number of datasets. These are set out in the Audit Commission's NFI guidance.

The exercise involves Woking Borough Council providing data from:

  • Staff payroll

  • Trade Creditors

  • Housing Benefits (supplied by the DWP)

  • Council Tax

  • Electoral Register

  • Insurance claimants

  • Housing

  • Licenses

  • Transport passes and permits

The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its 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. Data matching by the Audit Commission is, however, subject to a Code of Practice which is approved by Parliament.

For further information on the Audit Commission's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see their Fair Processing Notice. Alternatively, contact the National Fraud Initiative on 0844 798 2222 or email

If you have any queries about how your personal information is processed by the Council, please visit our Data Protection webpage.