Guidance

National Fraud Initiative: additional public services

Find out about extra NFI services available for public sector organisations, such as ReCheck and the AppCheck.

Many of the risks addressed by the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) are also relevant to central government departments, agencies or arm’s length bodies and other organisations, such as housing associations, academies and community rehabilitation companies. This guide lists the services that are available to such public sector organisations as voluntary participants under Schedule 9, 3 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Screening is carried out every 2 years (with data submission usually in October).

The NFI can help to identify a range of issues, for example, employees committing benefit fraud or working elsewhere, tenants that are subletting illegally, duplicate trade creditor payments or employees with interests in companies your organisation is trading with.

You can also read case studies showing how NFI has helped other organisations.

Services by sector

Central government, academies and community rehabilitation companies

Central government (including agencies or arm’s length bodies), academies and community rehabilitation companies can share the benefits of the NFI data matching by submitting payroll and trade creditors’ data. For example, this screening can help to identify employees committing benefit fraud or working elsewhere, VAT overpayments, duplicate trade creditor payments or employees with interests in companies your organisation is trading with.

Should your organisation identify a particular fraud risk that the NFI might help you address through data matching, please email nfiqueries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk to find out about our bespoke services.

Housing associations

Housing associations can share the benefits of the NFI data matching by submitting payroll, trade creditor payments, current housing tenant and tenants that have completed or are in the process of completing Right to Acquire.

For example, this screening can help to identify employees committing benefit fraud or working elsewhere, VAT overpayments, duplicate trade creditor payments or employees with interests in companies your organisation is trading with.

Housing associations that submit data relating to tenants that have completed or are in the process of completing Right to Acquire can identify tenants who:

  • are illegally subletting social housing
  • are illegally claiming benefits (these matches would go back to the council paying the benefit)
  • are abusing the ‘Right to Acquire’ scheme
  • are making invalid applications for social housing

By identifying this type of fraud social houses can be recovered for allocation to individuals that need them.

AppCheck

Every application you receive carries a risk that the person has failed to declare all of the relevant information and as a result they receive a benefit, service or employment they are not entitled to. AppCheck provides a real-time authentication process across your organisation as a whole. This minimises the costly investigations that would have followed once a fraud is detected.

AppCheck can help at the point of application to ensure only those with a genuine entitlement get the services they need.

AppCheck can be used to detect:

  • Tenants subletting unlawfully
  • Fraudulent Right to Buy/Acquire applications
  • Unlawful tenancy succession
  • Fraudulent applications for Council Tax Single Person Discount
  • Employees that have not disclosed other business interests
  • Fraudulent applications for a concessionary travel pass
  • False applications for re-housing

To find out more about AppCheck please email helpdesk@nfi.gov.uk

ReCheck

ReCheck is a flexible data matching service that complements the NFI biennial national exercise. This service allows you to re-perform all of the existing NFI data matching, except trade creditor payments reports, at a time that suits you. You control when you upload your organisation’s datasets for internal matching. The service includes data from the most recent NFI exercise, as well as refreshed housing benefit, student loans and Amberhill police data.

The service:

  • responds to your operational needs and organisational risks, allowing you to decide how often you re-perform matching
  • will help detect fraud either in your organisation or across multiple organisations that choose to come together as part of a data matching syndicate
  • generates high quality data matches and makes them available immediately
  • is undertaken using existing statutory data matching powers under part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and follows the Code of Data Matching Practice

Subscribers to ReCheck pay an additional fee per dataset submitted and a separate fee applies to ReCheck mortality screening.

Mortality screening

Mortality screening can help organisations identify for example, pensioners, blue badge holders, concessionary pass holders and applicants on a housing waiting list that are deceased. By doing so this can highlight potentially fraudulent activity and/or overpayments that can subsequently be recovered.

The NFI offers mortality screening against the following:

  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deceased data which includes details of the deaths of all UK citizens, including some of those that have died overseas. The data also includes National Insurance numbers which improves the accuracy of the resulting matches. *Disclosure of Death Registration Information (DDRI) – a list of deaths provided by the General Register Office (GRO) of England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Read some practical examples of how ReCheck and mortality screening can be used.

Timescales

Mortality screening to DWP deceased persons data takes place every 6 months, with data submissions in June and November.

Mortality screening to GRO DDRI data can be carried out at any point throughout the year by uploading your data to NFI ReCheck. Data is refreshed every two weeks.

For further information please email nfiqueries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

Payroll screening

The NFI can help you to identify individuals who may be committing employment fraud by failing to work their contracted hours because they are employed elsewhere or are taking long-term sickness absence from one employer and working for another employer at the same time.

Publicising participation in the NFI should act as a strong deterrent against fraudulent employment applications and employee identity fraud.

Trade creditor screening

As part of the two yearly national exercise we provide trade creditor payment screening (suppliers of goods and services) and have developed a range of tests to identify duplicate payments. Aside from the financial benefits, data matches help to improve the efficiency of organisations’ trade creditor payment systems.

The NFI can help you identify duplicate payments and incorrect VAT payments that can be recovered, caused by incorrect supplier invoices, input errors and VAT miscalculations. The reasons for this are wide ranging, from human error to poor processes, controls that can be overridden and the fact that accounting systems can only carry out basic checks.

The matching can also help you strengthen your internal control arrangements, by highlighting system weaknesses or common errors within your trade creditor data. For example, we identify multiple occurrences of the same trade creditor but with different reference numbers or differently spelt organisation names.

How to get involved

To discuss your requirements or to take part please email nfiqueries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. You can also look at the data specifications guide, which sets out the data you would need to submit for screening.

The fees for the services are listed in this guide.

Bespoke services

The NFI data matching statutory powers allow data matching for the purpose of preventing or detecting fraud. To discuss any bespoke data matching you feel may address a particular fraud risk to your organisation by matching data you hold to data that the NFI already collects or to other data that we may be able to secure on your behalf, please email nfiqueries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Published 20 March 2015
Last updated 16 June 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated information on National Fraud Initiative's additional public services.

  2. Update to Flexible mortality screening timescales

  3. Added document about the Application Checker

  4. First published.