National Fraud Initiative

The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) in Scotland is a counter-fraud exercise led by us, and overseen by the Cabinet Office for the UK as a whole. It uses computerised techniques to compare information about individuals held by different public bodies, and on different financial systems that might suggest the existence of fraud or error.

It means that public bodies can take action if any fraud or error has taken place, and it allows auditors to assess fraud prevention arrangements which those bodies have.

Contact details

The NFI in Scotland is overseen by Audit Scotland. Our phone number for all NFI enquiries is: 0131 625 1500.

Information about the UK NFI exercise can be found on the Cabinet Office’s website at

Bodies participating in NFI in Scotland should note that they can update their contact details via the 2016/17 NFI secure website or by sending an email to

Draft Code of data matching practice 2018 - consultation

15 May 2018

In our audit work, we may look at data that is held by different public bodies and compare these data sets to see if there are any trends or patterns that may indicate fraud and need to be investigated. This is called data matching. Handling and managing data about individuals needs to be done securely and sensitively.

We have prepared this draft Code of data matching practice to help make sure that Audit Scotland and its staff, auditors and all people and bodies involved in data matching exercises comply with the law, especially data protection legislation. The previous version of the Code, published in November 2010, has been updated for revisions to data protection legislation.

Audit Scotland is consulting all audited bodies and other stakeholders, including the UK Information Commissioner, about this updated Code of data matching practice.

The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) in Scotland is a counter-fraud exercise led by Audit Scotland. While we welcome comments from all bodies and stakeholders, we recognise that the Code will be more relevant to the bodies that currently participate in NFI data matching exercises.

Comments on the draft Code should be submitted, preferably electronically, to by 25 June 2018. We will publish the final version as soon as possible thereafter, expected to be in summer 2018.

  Code of data matching practice - consultation - PDF 525Kb

Information for 2016/17

The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland 2016/17

To be published summer 2018

National Fraud Initiative

The project scope below outlines what will be covered in the next report on fraud and error identified in the Scottish public sector as a result of NFI data matching since April 2016.

 Project scope - PDF 127Kb

Code of data matching practice – 2010

Published 12 November 2010

This Code of data matching practice was issued on 12 November 2010 under Section 26F of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 (as amended). It was updated in August 2016.

 Code of data matching practice 2010 - PDF 1.4Mb

Reports and documents

National Fraud Initiative - Self-appraisal checklist

Published 9 March 2018

This document contains a two-part checklist that we encourage all participating bodies to use to self-appraise their involvement in the NFI. Part A is designed to assist audit committee members and Part B is for officers involved in the NFI exercise.

Some suggestions for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of reviewing and investigating NFI matches are also included.

 National Fraud Initiative - Self-appraisal checklist  - PDF 420Kb

The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland 2012/13

Published 26 June 2014

Fraud and errors worth £16 million have been identified following the largest and most diverse detection exercise undertaken by Audit Scotland and more than 120 Scottish public bodies.    

 National Fraud Initiative in Scotland - PDF 611Kb

 National Fraud Initiative in Scotland (text only) - RTF 248Kb

 Supplement - Self-appraisal checklist - RTF 94Kb

 News release - PDF 83Kb

 Podcast - MP3 4.6Mb

 Podcast transcript - PDF 60Kb

The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland 2012/13 - Instructions for participants

Published September 2012

The 2012/13 instructions include important guidance and instructions for participating bodies including data requirements, data specifications and the 2012/13 timetable. It will be regularly updated throughout the exercise.

 Instructions for participants - PDF 200Kb

The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland 2008/09

Published 20 May 2010

A further £21 million of outcomes have been identified following Audit Scotland's third biennial national fraud detection exercise. The exercise involves Audit Scotland working with a range of public bodies in Scotland and the Audit Commission in England, (who match the data for the exercise on our behalf).

 The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland - PDF 1.1 Mb

 The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland (text only) - RTF 205Kb

 Press release - PDF 21Kb

 Podcast - MP3 4.4Mb