The Audit Commission is an independent body responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively, to achieve high-quality local services for the public.
Since 1996 the Audit Commission has run the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), an exercise that matches electronic data within and between audited bodies to prevent and detect fraud. This includes police authorities, local probation boards and fire and rescue authorities as well as local councils. To date, an estimated £450 million of fraud and overpayments have been identified from this work and the initiative has attracted international recognition. In 2006/07 this approach led to £140 million of fraud and overpayments being detected. The Commission's report on National Fraud Initiative 2008/09 will be published in May 2010 and will highlight the main issues arising from this latest exercise.
The use of data for NFI purposes continues to be controlled to ensure compliance with data protection and human rights legislation. A revised Code of data matching practice was published and laid before Parliament on 21 July 2008 and replaces the previous Code published by the Commission in 2006.