National Fraud Initiative - NFI


As part of the Council's fraud strategy, Fife Council takes part in the biennial National Fraud Initiative (NFI) exercise. The NFI in Scotland is a counter-fraud exercise led by Audit Scotland, and overseen by the Cabinet Office for the UK as a whole. It uses computerised techniques to compare information about individuals held by different public bodies and on different financial systems that might suggest the existence of fraud or error.


The current NFI exercise is for 2018/19.  This exercise compliments the Councils own Data Matching and gives the Council access to data from other organisations.


Audit Scotland carries out data matching under part 2A of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. This legislation provides that Audit Scotland may carry out data matching exercises, or arrange for them to be carried out on its behalf. The Cabinet Office's NFI team carries out the matching work on our behalf and Audit Scotland prepares a report on the results.


The Cabinet Office processes the data for NFI exercise in Scotland on behalf of Audit Scotland

The Cabinet Office prepares instructions for participants which are available on its website.


Code of Data Matching Practice


Fife Council 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.


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 but the inclusion of personal data within a data matching exercise does not mean that any specific individual is under suspicion.  Where a match is found it indicates that there may be 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 exercise can also help bodies to ensure that their records are up to date.


Audit Scotland 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 Audit Scotland for matching for each exercise, and these are set out in Audit Scotland’s instructions, National Fraud Initiative in Scotland 2018/19 – Instructions for participants or at Audit Scotland.


Data matching by Audit Scotland is subject to a Code of data matching practice 2018, or at Audit Scotland.


For further information on Audit Scotland’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see the National Fraud Initiative in Scotland – Privacy notice (June 2018) or at Audit Scotland.


Audit Scotland have published their report The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland (July 2018).


For further details contact regarding the the National Fraud Initiative, please contact:

Contact the Corporate Fraud Team:



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