Civil Service Pensions 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 Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) audits the accounts of this authority. It is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises under it's 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 to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows fraudulent claims and payments to be identified.
Where a match is found, it may indicate 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 Northern Ireland Audit Office
The NIAO 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 NIAO for matching. Details are set out in the NIAO website.
The use of data by the NIAO 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 NIAO is subject to a Code of Practice. This may be found on the at NIAO website.
For contact details and further information on the NIAO’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see the Level 3 notice on the NIAO website.