It is estimated that fraud costs UK local government more than £2 billion per year.
Councils and other public bodies across Essex are working together to reduce this problem. The work includes sharing information from a number of databases held by all councils in Essex.
The law allows us to share the information we hold on individuals and organisations to detect and prevent fraud.
One example of fraud concerns the council tax single person discount, which reduces council tax bills by 25% for adults who live on their own. We are aware some people claim discounts to which they are not entitled – for example, where individuals in a new relationship allow their partner to move in with them, but do not tell us of this change in their circumstances.
We will carry out 'data matching' to help detect and prevent fraud. This is when computer records of an individual are compared between different databases. These could be our own databases, or with a database in a different organisation.
Data matching helps us find fraudulent claims and fraudulent payments.
Data we will share to detect and prevent fraud
We will share data with Essex councils and other public bodies, from the following services:
- adults' and children's social care
- Blue Badge parking
- council tax
- housing – existing tenants, waiting lists, homelessness
- housing benefit
- national non-domestic rates
- planning and building control
- residents' parking permits
- taxi licensing
From these services, we will share the following items of personal data:
- date of birth
- National Insurance number – where held
- income data – where held
- dates of occupation and vacation of property – where held
Our information sharing protocol is our data sharing agreement with the organisations we work with.