Nexus is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
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 indicates that there is an inconsistency that 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 Cabinet Office currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to them for matching each exercise, and these are set out in the Cabinet Office – National Fraud Initiative guidance, which can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-fraud-initiative. The use of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority. The Legal basis for requiring us to carry out this exercise is the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice. This may be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-data-matching-practice-for-national-fraud-initiative.
For further information on the Cabinet Office legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-fraud-initiative.