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National Fraud Initiative

The Western Trust 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 and Audit General audits the accounts of this authority. He is also responsible for carrying out the National Fraud Initiative data matching exercise. The use of data by Comptroller and Audit General is carried out with statutory authority under his powers in Articles 4A to 4H 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 potential 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 Western Trust is a mandatory contributor to this data matching process and is required to provide particular sets of data to the Comptroller and Audit General for matching. Details are set out in the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s website.

The use of data by the Comptroller and Audit General in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority and does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 2018 or the General Data Protection Regulation.

Data matching by the Comptroller and Audit General is subject to a Code of Practice. Details are on the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s website. Individuals whose data is included in data matching exercises have rights under the data protection legislation. Guidance on individual’s rights are available on the Information Commissioner’s website at

Personal data will not be kept for longer than is necessary. Data retention under the NFI will be in accordance with a data deletion schedule to be published on the Cabinet Office’s NFI web page at:

For further information on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s legal powers and the reasons why he matches particular information, see the Privacy Notice on the NIAO website.

For further information on NFI and data matching, please contact the Western Trust Finance Key Contact, Ingrid Canning (028 7186 5275)

If you wish to complain about how your personal data has been processed or have any data related query, please contact the Western Trust Data Protection Officer, Damian Houston (028 7134 5171)

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