National Fraud Initiative

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) has  statutory powers to conduct data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud. The  powers are contained in Articles 4A to 4H of the Audit and Accountability (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 as inserted by the Serious Crime Act 2007.

What is Data Matching?

Data matching involves comparing sets of data, such as the payroll or benefits records of a body, against other records held by the same or another body. This allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where no match is found, the data matching process will have no material impact on those concerned. Where a match is found it indicates that there may be an inconsistency that requires further investigation.

Code of Data Matching

The use of data for data matching purposes is governed by the C&AG’s Code of Data Matching Practice, the purpose of which is to help ensure that the C&AG, the Northern Ireland Audit Office, and all persons and bodies involved in data matching exercises comply with the law, especially the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and to promote good practice in data matching. The Code was prepared in consultation with the Information Commissioner and other stakeholders and was laid by the Department of Finance and Personnel before the Assembly on 25 July 2008.

Code of Data Matching Practice (PDF 144 KB) Opens PDF document in a new browser window

This link will take you to a copy of the Code of Data Matching

Other key Documents

Level 3 Layered Fair Processing Notice (PDF 66 KB) Opens PDF document in a new browser window

NFI Instructions 2016-17

NIAO's report on the most recent NFI exercise undertaken in Northern Ireland can be read at:

NFI 2014

NIAO has also reported on the results of previous NFI exercises undertaken in Northern Ireland. A full copy of the 2008-09 NFI report can be found here and the 2010-11 NFI  report here

For further Information, please contact the NIAO NFI Co-ordinator

Valerie Evans Tel: 028 9025 1062

Alternatively, you may send an email to:

To read more about NFI, follow this link to the UK Government website: