National Fraud Initiative

Data Matching Exercise

The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service 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 Comptroller & Auditor General audits the accounts of this Agency.

The Comptroller and Auditor General is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises under his powers in Articles 4A to 4G of the Audit and Accountability (NI) Order 2003.

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 Comptroller & Auditor General 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 the Comptroller & Auditor General for matching. Details are set out in the Northern Ireland Audit Office's website, www.niauditoffice.gov.uk

The use of data by the Comptroller & 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 Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice. This may be found at www.niauditoffice.gov.uk

For further information on the Comptroller & Auditor General's legal powers and the reasons why he matches particular information, see the NI Audit Office notice.

For further information on data matching at this Agency contact Noreen Bryans at noreen.bryans@nibts.hscni.net