Data matching, mining and analysis
While providing services to its citizens, Birmingham City Council is also required by law to:
- prevent and/or detect potential fraud and crime
- protect the public purse and/or minimise waste
- make adequate provisions for safeguarding
- make adequate provision for auditing
- carry out emergency response planning
To help us to do this, we may share and process the information provided to us in different ways. This information includes that held in respect of:
- Antisocial Behaviour
- Blue Badges
- Burials and Cremations
- Council Employee Payroll
- Council Employee Pensions
- Council Tax
- Electoral Register
- Enforcement; Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Waste
- Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
- Licensing; merchants, dealers, market traders, taxi drivers or operators, personal or alcohol licences and H.M.O licensing
- Property; planning, building regulation, business rates
- Social Care
- Call Centre (Customer Relation Records (CRM))
- Waste Management (domestic and commercial)
- Provision of Council funded services
- Information provided to the Council to assist the Council in its legal obligations
- Other Local Authority records held in respect one or more of the above (Sandwell MBC, Dudley MBC, Solihull MBC, Wolverhampton CC).
- Information provided by external organisations; credit reference agencies, social housing providers (including Registered Social Landlords), West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service.
We share information internally, but we may also share information with other parties in order to fulfil our obligations or if it is required by law. Other parties include the; Cabinet Office, The Department for Work and Pensions, other Local Authorities, HM Revenues and Customs, the Police, the Fire Services, credit reference agencies and service providers/contractors and/or partner bodies.
Subject to Council; controls, security requirements and governance via the Audit function, much of the information we share to prevent and detect crime, protect public funds and support the safeguarding function is done through data warehousing. This is a very efficient and secure way of sharing information. The process of accessing information through a data warehouse is sometimes referred to as data mining.
Applying the same controls as we do for data warehousing, we also carry out data matching. This is a more sophisticated way of processing large volumes of information. While it is also an efficient way to identify crime for example, it also enables us to identify information that is inaccurate or out of date, which helps us comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. In certain circumstances, data matching also improves service provision through better use of data.
When the data matching or data mining processes identify records which contain contradictory or conflicting information, further investigation is undertaken to establish the facts (if not obvious). No assumption is made as to which record is correct or incorrect. Similarly, it is only at the end of an investigation when all the facts have been established that we make a decision as to whether a fraud or crime has taken place for example. Where this is the case, the matter is dealt with in accordance with the relevant prosecution policy. In the majority of instances, records simply need correcting, although this sometimes results in changes in service provision.
Other data matching
In addition to the data matching and data mining that we carry out, The Cabinet Office also conducts its own data matching exercises utilising its statutory powers. This is commonly known as the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). We are required by law to participate in the NFI. More information can be found at the National Fraud Office