Pensions - Articles - Delay and reset to the Pensions Dashboards Programme


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that there will be a further delay to the Pensions Dashboards Programme. Pension dashboards will allow individuals to view information about their pensions, including state pension, in one place online. This will put savers in control and help reconnect them with their lost pension pots. The government department announced in a statement on 2 March 2023 that the programme will be unable to meet the first connection deadline of 31 August 2023. It has now been delayed indefinitely – as the DWP has not given any details of when the programme will be ready.

 Pensions secretary Laura Trott said: “ The Pensions Dashboards Programme, under the supervision of the Money and Pensions Service, is responsible for delivering the digital architecture which underpins pensions dashboards. The project is a significant undertaking, requiring the development of new technology that will permit individuals to find their pensions by searching thousands of pension schemes which collectively hold millions of pensions records.

 “The first connection deadline is currently 31 August 2023. However, additional time is required to deliver the complex technical solution to enable the connection of pension providers and schemes, in accordance with the connection deadlines set out in the Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) corresponding pensions dashboard rules for pension providers.

 “More time is needed to deliver this complex build, and for the pensions industry to help facilitate the successful connection of a wide range of different IT systems to the dashboards digital architecture.”

 Reset the programme
 Trott went on to say that she has “initiated a reset of the Pensions Dashboards Programme” in which DWP will play a full role.

 She added that a new chair of the programme board will develop a new plan for delivery.

 “The framework set out in the regulations for pensions dashboards remains fit for purpose,” Trott said. “DWP will legislate at the earliest opportunity to amend the timing of these obligations to provide clarity to schemes. We will ensure that the pensions industry has adequate time and the necessary technical information to prepare for any revised connection deadlines. I will provide a further update to the House of Commons before summer recess.

 “Pensions dashboards will be a vital tool to help savers plan for their retirement and the government remains thoroughly committed to their delivery. I know this commitment is shared across the pensions industry. The huge consumer benefits of pensions dashboards are yet to be realised, but it is vital that the foundation upon which the dashboards ecosystem is built is safe, secure, and works for both the pensions industry users connecting to it and the end users of the service.

 “While there are issues to work through, we must not lose sight of these benefits. It is essential that scheme preparation for pensions dashboards continues, and we will press ahead to deliver this technology.”

  

 Commenting LCP partner and former pensions minister Steve Webb said: “This latest delay in the roll out of pensions dashboards to the public is deeply frustrating. The end goal, of a website where people can see all of their pensions in one place would be of huge value to pension savers. It will help people to find pension pots they have lost track of, and will enable them to rationalise and make best use of the pots that they do have. The Government must ensure that any delay is kept to an absolute minimum. The lack of a firm new timetable will leave industry in limbo and this uncertainty must be resolved as soon as possible”.

 Kate Smith, Head of pensions at Aegon, comments on the DWP’s announcement that pension dashboard dates will be reset; “The pension industry has been working hard to meet the legislative staging dates, with the largest schemes and providers due to start onboarding in a matter of months. We’ve been aware since the beginning of the year that there was ‘trouble at the mill’ but are surprised that the DWP is taking such a radical step by announcing a reset. We are disappointed about the reset which in reality likely means an implementation delay, but we recognise that it’s really important that everything is in place before schemes connect to the dashboard ecosystem and definitely before the public accesses dashboards.

 “There’s a strong possibility that the dashboard scheme onboarding phased timeline could be moved back into next year, giving the pension dashboard programme more time to prepare for this incredibly complex programme. This will also give schemes more time to prepare, but it’s important that they carry on with their plans in the meantime rather than throwing them up in the air. The government needs to urgently confirm what this means for schemes and pension providers in practice as there are many other changes happening concurrently.

 “Ultimately we believe that pension dashboards have the potential to be a gamechanger, not only connecting people with their pensions but also increasing engagement and improved financial wellbeing. However, this reset means that the public may have to wait until 2025 or beyond to access dashboards to see all their pension online and in one place.”
  
 Becky O’Connor, Director of Public Affairs at PensionBee, commented: “It is disappointing but not wholly unexpected that the Pensions Dashboard project - beset with difficulty from the beginning - is facing another delay. People’s inability to keep track of their pensions is a growing problem. This project must not lose its opportunity to be on the front foot in dealing with it."

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