Data matching

Harlow Council is a data controller for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. 

This means we are the organisation that decides what will be done with the personal data (information about living individuals) that we collect. Read our privacy notice for more information

You can also read our revenues and benefits privacy notice for specific information on how we handle your personal data in relation to Council Tax, business rates and benefits.

We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. To this end, we may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing, or administering public funds, or undertaking a public function.  These include other public bodies such as the Cabinet Office, the Department of Works and Pensions, other Local Authorities, HM Revenues and Customs, the Police, utility companies, credit reference agencies, service providers, contractors and partner organisations, where the disclosure of such information is either:

  • necessary for the purposes of the prevention and detection of crime
  • to protect the public purse and to minimise waste
  • otherwise necessary to comply with any other legal obligations

The Cabinet Office is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information.

Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims, transactions, applications, taxes and payments to be identified. 

Where a match is found it indicates that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out. Regardless of the outcome, data matching helps to ensure records are up to date and accurate.

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative, a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for each exercise, as detailed in the initiative.

The use of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018

Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice.

View the National Fraud Initiative privacy notice for further information on the Cabinet Office's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information.

We are committed to ensuring that your personal data is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect from you. 

If your details change at any point, please inform us of the new details to enable us to keep your records accurate and up to date.

Personal data held will be deleted when it is no longer needed for these purposes, in accordance with our formal record retention policies.

Individuals also have a right under the data protection laws to request a copy of the personal information held about them, by enclosing proof of their identity and explaining what information they are requesting. 

If you would like to find out what information the council holds about you, please write to our Data Protection Officer.

Contact information

Data Protection Officer
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
College Square
CM20 1WG