Off with a dash

Off with a dash

Director of Policy and Research Nigel Peaple reports on the work taking place to deliver the Pensions Dashboard

In April, the government published its views on the Pensions Dashboard Feasibility Study, following feedback from the industry during the consultation period (December 2018-January 2019). The vast majority of the government’s conclusions were in line with the PLSA’s views. Since then, real progress has been made in establishing the Pensions Dashboard Industry Delivery Group. With the plumbing firmly in place, it’s fair to say the real work starts now – and there’s a great deal to do! 

Consultation response

The Feasibility Study explored several elements of the dashboard project, including funding, governance, scheme participation, and the dashboard’s architecture. In its response to the consultation on the Study, the government came to a number of key conclusions that are worth highlighting. 

The government committed to deliver a non-commercial dashboard provided by the Money and Pensions Service. The PLSA has consistently argued that this is essential to ensure that savers trust dashboards and have confidence in the information presented on them. Though we recognise that pension schemes will face a variety of challenges in making their data available to dashboards, we believe that the government’s decision to compel pension schemes to provide data to dashboards is the right one. It is necessary to ensure that savers will be able to see all their pensions in one place, which will help them make informed decisions. 

Crucial to a successful ‘on-boarding’ process is the timeline according to which schemes will have to make their data available. The government’s decision to give schemes three to four years to do so is welcome and respects the needs of all types of scheme in the pensions sector. The government expects that some large DC schemes, including master trusts, will be able to provide data on a voluntary basis from 2019/2020. This might be possible, but our understanding is that these schemes are likely to need around 12 to 18 months from the point of certainty about the required data standards to provide data to dashboards. 

The information presented on dashboards should be phased, in the government’s view, starting with simple information that will allow savers to ‘find and view’ their pensions. We agree that this is the right approach. It will help to ensure that appropriate time is available to develop an adequate consumer protection regime and contain costs for schemes. 

Recent developments

Since the publication of the government’s response to the Feasibility Study, the dashboard project has accelerated. In June, the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) appointed Chris Curry as the Principal of the Pensions Dashboard Industry Delivery Group. Chris is Director of the Pensions Policy Institute and was a member of the DWP’s Automatic Enrolment Review (2017) Advisory Group. He’s also well known to the PLSA, having been on the steering group that oversaw our Hitting The Target project. 

Following Chris’s appointment, MAPS hired an Implementation Director, Angela Pober, and consultancy support, Capgemini, in July. Their immediate task is to develop a robust business case and roadmap for the dashboard project. MAPS also formally opened the application process for stakeholders interested in being on the steering group of the Industry Delivery Body, which will provide strategic direction for the development of the project. 

Next steps

The PLSA’s main priority in the short term is to secure appropriate representation on the dashboard delivery body’s steering group. Our engagement with the government is focusing on achieving this end. We’re also encouraging schemes to start preparing their data for the dashboard as soon as possible. Primarily, this process will be concerned with the completeness and correctness of data. The pace of the project is likely to accelerate towards the end of 2019 and the PLSA will keep members informed about further developments as and when they arise. 

Nigel Peaple has been appointed to the Dashboard Delivery Industry Group. This new steering group will support the work of the Industry Delivery Group (IDG) which has been established within the Money and Pensions Service.