Protecting the public purse

Code of data matching practice

The purpose of this code of data matching practice is to help ensure that the Commission and its staff, auditors 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.

It includes guidance on the notification process for letting individuals know why their data is matched and by whom, the standards that apply and where to find further information.

The Serious Crime Act 2007 gave the Audit Commission new statutory powers to conduct data matching exercises by inserting a new Part 2A into the Audit Commission Act 1998.

The legislation requires the Commission to prepare a code of practice to govern its data matching exercises, and to consult with the Information Commissioner and others over it before approving and laying it before Parliament.

The code of data matching practice was published and laid before Parliament on 21 July 2008 and replaced the previous code published by the Commission in 2006. A copy of the code is available below.

The code of data matching practice will be subject to review following completion of each NFI exercise. Any changes made will be consulted upon before the code is finalised and laid before Parliament.

Please note the following:

  • The Commission has made a very minor amendment to one sentence of the full text as it is produced on the Fair processing notice – Full text web page but not as it appears in the Code. The amendment is to the second paragraph and is shown below in tracked changes.

“Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency that requires further investigation.”

This amendment was made to more fully align the full text with the relevant text in the Code, which states at paragraph 2.2.2. that “where a match is found, it indicates that there may be an inconsistency that requires further investigation”.

  • Following a change to the payroll data specification we recommend that participants use the example text below rather than the example text included in Appendix 2 of the Code. The Code will be updated when it is next formally reviewed and presented to Parliament. See further information on fair processing.

Level 1: Summary text – example for payslips (for employees)     Please note that key payroll data and personal identifiers such as contact details may be provided to bodies responsible for auditing and administering public funds for the purposes of preventing and detecting fraud. For more details, see web-link to Level 2 notice on authority’s website} or contact {name and contact details}.


Code of Data Matching Practice