We choose to take part in the ‘National Fraud Initiative’ (NFI), which helps to find and stop people committing fraud and makes sure that public money is being spent appropriately.
The NFI is run by the Audit Commission. It is a ‘data matching’ exercise between organisations such as local councils, the police, fire and rescue services, and housing associations. Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one organisation against computer records held by another organisation. If there are any matches, this may show that there’s something that we need to investigate.
We keep an open mind when we are doing our checks – we don’t assume that someone has committed fraud. In most cases, we can identify a reason for the match (for example, it might show two people who have the same name, but with some quick checks we can find out that they have different dates of birth) and in these cases we won’t need to do anything further.
Sometimes we may need to update the information we hold about you. Occasionally, we may find something more serious – for example, someone who has two social tenancies with two separate housing associations, or someone who has moved out of their house, and is sub-letting it to someone else. In these cases, we will work with the other organisation to take action against the person. Depending on the seriousness of the case, this action might include a criminal prosecution.
We give information about you to the Audit Commission via a secure website, so that your information can’t be seen by anyone else. The information we give them includes:
- Your name, address and date of birth
- The date your tenancy started
- Your home phone number, mobile phone number and email address (if we have them)
- Your tenancy reference number
- Your housing benefit reference number (if we have it)
- Whether you have bought (or are currently buying) your house from us through the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire process
The Audit Commission has the power to carry out a data matching exercise under Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. This means it isn’t covered by the Data Protection Act 1998, so we don’t need your permission to share your information.
A full list of the information we give to the Audit Commission is in their guidance, which can be found on the Audit Commission website.
The Audit Commission has to follow a Code of Practice for data matching. You can find a copy of this here.
For information on the Audit Commission’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, visit their website.
If you would like more information on data matching at Accent, you can contact the business assurance team on 01274 717 506.