The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has called on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to give pension schemes six months formal notice as part of a 12-month planning timeline prior to making Pensions Dashboards fully available to the public.
Responding to the Pensions dashboards: further consultation, the PLSA said it welcomed DWP setting out in advance the notice period for the Dashboards Availability Point (DAP), but the 90 days proposed is not enough notice for most schemes.
Rather, schemes need an indicative timeline of 12 months, including a formal notice of the DAP six months (or 180 days) in advance, so as to prepare and make sure the full public launch of dashboards is as smooth as possible.
The additional time will allow schemes to prepare for the potential surge in member queries and demands on administration. Schemes will also need to carry out their own testing once they have connected to the dashboards ecosystem.
In its consultation response, the PLSA also recommends the DAP should be determined only once the following three thresholds on coverage, find data accuracy and user understanding have been met:
- Coverage: 90% of DC schemes and 90% of DB schemes, with 90% of members, and State Pension data should be available to be viewed on pensions dashboards prior to DAP to meet the coverage requirement.
- Find data accuracy: at least 90% of pension entitlements actually being found, for example because schemes’ records have accurate date of birth, National Insurance number and surname.
- User understanding: should be demonstrated by the Pensions Dashboards Programme after extensive user testing of the display data so as to reduce the risk of savers making harmful decisions.
Even with the three DAP conditions proposed above being met, the PLSA submits that it would be preferable to have a soft public launch of pensions dashboards, with either managed numbers of members directed to dashboards (for example, by age group) or members finding dashboards organically prior to a hard launch, ideally aligned to a future engagement campaign.
A soft launch would allow for dealing with any initial issues that will arise from members of the public interrogating the pensions dashboards ecosystem.
Nigel Peaple, Director Policy & Advocacy, PLSA, said: “The PLSA has long been a supporter of pensions dashboards as a tool for enhancing engagement with pension savers and allowing for more informed choices and forward-planning.
“To be a success, the public must have a successful experience of using dashboards, be able to see their data from the vast majority of their pension schemes and, crucially, understand what they are seeing so they don’t make bad decisions.
“Schemes and third-party pensions administrators need time to bring in and train up resource for the potential spike in demand but labour markets are tight and administrators are in short supply.
“With an indication of a likely DAP a year in advance and formal notice six months in advance, schemes will be better able to plan effectively to make dashboards a success with savers from full public launch.”
The full consultation response is available via the PLSA website.
Mark Smith, Senior PR Manager
020 7601 1726 | [email protected]
Steven Kennedy, Senior PR Manager
020 7601 1737 | 07713 073024 | [email protected]