29 December 2023 – End of 2023 blog

PDP publishes an “end of year” blog from Principal Chris Curry, reiterating that PDP resources will be dedicated to enabling all pension schemes and providers to connect to the Central Digital Architecture by the statutory deadline of 31 October 2026, with collaboration being central to how PDP works.

18 December 2023 – HMT RAO amendment

HM Treasury lays before Parliament an Amendment to the FSMA2000 (Regulated Activities) Order (RAO) making “Operating a pensions dashboard service” a new regulated activity, with the draft Statutory Instrument (SI) scheduled to come into force from 11 March 2024.

14 December 2023 – An “immensely tricky IT problem”

The Times’ Financial Editor Patrick Hosking almost bookends 2023’s updates.

Patrick’s 3 January article (scroll right to the bottom of this page) reported how the Government’s “Money & Pensions Service had not been able to meet all timelines”.

So his 14 December article (image below) is wrong to talk about “industry’s failure to get the pensions dashboard off the ground” – industry was ready prior to March’s PDP Reset.

But that’s water under the bridge. What’s important is that dashboards remain, as Patrick says, an “immensely tricky IT problem”.

Let’s prove to ourselves in 2024 that we (i.e. Government and industry working together with humble collaboration, as our continental European colleagues advise) can actually move closer to launching dashboards.

And let’s learn from the dashboards experience and set up small pots solutions as collaborative endeavours, not Government-led like dashboards.

13 December 2023 – PDP architecture & data webinar

PDP hosts a webinar on the Central Digital Architecture (CDA) as well as mentioning Find & View data, providing more detail than has been revealed before (e.g. on the operation of the central Governance Register).

5 December 2023 – PASA Readiness Guidance

A PASA press release announces the launch of detailed PASA Dashboards Connection Readiness Guidance for pension schemes and an accompanying Call to Action.

30 November 2023 – FCA grid & PDP recent queries

FCA updates its Regulatory Initiatives Grid, with the timeline for final QPDS rules on p46, though it’s not explicit what the “Key milestones” in Jan-Mar 2024 and Oct 24-Mar 25 are.

In a PDP blog article, Chris Curry answers some recent queries, including that user testing will begin when the staging guidance for pension schemes begins.

24 November 2023 – MaPS Annual Report

The Money & Pensions Service (MaPS) publishes its Annual Report to 31 March 2023 including, on pages 33 and 34, a detailed description of what led to the programme reset. In summary:

  • Jul 2022: PDP’s mock Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) service standard assessment (SSA) highlights several unresolved issues, leading to the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) returning a Red Delivery Confidence Assessment (“successful delivery appears to be unachievable”)
  • Oct 2022: An in-depth analysis concludes it’s not possible to complete the remedial work required within existing planned timescales
  • Dec 2022: MaPS informs DWP the current PDP delivery timetable is unachievable
  • Feb 2023: DWP appoints an assurance review team, MaPS convenes an internal Risk Review, and the IPA conducts an Assurance of Action Plan (a consequence of their July 2022 Red rating), highlighting a number of programme issues
  • Mar 2023: DWP’s Written Ministerial Statement announces the programme timeline reset because PDP is unable to meet the legislative connection deadlines
  • Apr 2023: A reset team, overseen by an ‘executive’ including the MaPS CEO, the MaPS Chair and the DWP Permanent Secretary, begins work with PDP, MaPS and other key stakeholders to identify issues and develop solutions
  • Planned 2023/24 activity:
    a) Delivery plan: a new delivery plan will support a revised programme timeline, but there are no fundamental issues with the ecosystem design
    b) Delivery confidence: the programme will be put back on a viable footing (as recognised by a recent HMT / Cabinet Office IPA case conference)
    c) Business case: a revised business case will be developed reflecting the reset, followed by a full Accounting Officer (MaPS CEO) assessment with DWP, currently expected in late spring 2024.

22 November 2023 – Autumn Statement package

Various materials published as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement 2023 relate to pensions dashboards:

Meanwhile, an X post by Martin Lewis on the Autumn Statement sums up many commentators’ thoughts: “Really need them to speed up the pensions dashboard”.

16 November 2023 – New Ministerial commitment?

Pensions media outlets report on DWP’s confirmation that Paul Maynard MP is now the Pensions Minister. However, industry frustration with the Government’s lack of public progress on dashboards delivery is illustrated in a Pensions Expert article quoting LCP’s head of pensions research David Everett as saying:

“The near silence [on dashboards] since [the programme’s] March 2023 reset is undermining confidence that it will be delivered. [Paul Maynard] needs to back it or scrap it”.

8 November 2023 – PMO Head recruitment

The MaPS Careers website advertises for a PDP Head of Programme Management Office (PMO). The long list of responsibilities for this role includes managing the relationship with the Cabinet Office / HM Treasury Infrastructure and Project Authority (IPA), who oversee the Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP). Scroll down to the 20 July 2023 update below for a reminder that, in their latest annual report, the IPA rated PDP as Red, meaning “successful delivery appears to be unachievable”. So this PDP Head of PMO is a key role.

6 November 2023 – LGA connection guide

The Local Government Association publishes an LGPS Pensions Dashboards connection guide to help LGPS funds prepare to connect to the pensions dashboards ecosystem.

6 November 2023 – Levy review consultation

DWP’s consultation on the review of the General Levy through to 2026 (consultation closes next week on Monday 13 November) reminds us how it is pensions schemes and providers, through the levy, which are funding MaPS’s, PDP’s and TPR’s dashboards work.

3 November 2023 – FRC consultation

FRC publishes a consultation on increasing the growth rates for DC estimated retirement incomes (ERIs) subsequently confirmed as coming into force for projections from April 2024.

1 November 2023 – PDP Progress Update

The Government’s Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) team launches its eighth 6-monthly Progress Update Report (PUR) with a webinar.

PDP also publishes a secondary analysis of pensions information from the ONS Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS), seeking to answer questions like: How many pensions do people have? (but the numbers feel low).

30 October 2023 – What we need to hear

Ahead of PDP’s regular 6-monthly Progress Update Report due this week, independent consultant Ian MacIntyre lists in a blog article the five (most important) things we need to hear, namely (my ordering, not Ian’s):

  • Central identity service decision made
  • FCA rules for potential dashboards finalised
  • Beta testing (with real consumers) planned
  • Data standards latest updates made
  • Staged data connection dates announced.

(I’d suggest a sixth thing: Detailed plan for the build and test of the MaPS MoneyHelper pensions dashboard.)

27 October 2023 – TPAs on savers’ experiences

Two pension scheme third party administration (TPA) firms publish materials on savers’ potential experiences before, during and after using pensions dashboards:

  • Capita research with 3,000 consumers on their anticipated usage of dashboards
  • WTW article on creating joined-up dashboards experiences for scheme members.

26 October 2023 – Timetable and Testing Group

PDP’s regular FAQ newsletter outlines two key things PDP aims to do in early 2024:

  • publish the updated connection timetable, and
  • launch a user testing and planning group.

24 October 2023 – User Testing Group Lead Role

One of a number of important roles currently being recruited by PDP is advertised on the MaPS website: this Industry Engagement Manager role will be vital to the successful delivery of dashboards as they will:

“lead a new User Testing and Planning Group working with industry to develop plans to coordinate activities and achieve shared goals”.

18 October 2023 – TPR blog

In a blog article, TPR’s Louise Davey reminds pension schemes that “preparation [for dashboards] will take time [and] schemes mustn’t down tools and lose sight of this while they wait for their target connection dates [in guidance to be] released in due course”.

16 October 2023 – New MaPS CEO

A MaPS press release announcing Oliver Morley CBE as its new CEO from 1 February 2024 says that Oliver’s “experience gives him an established relationship with key pensions industry stakeholders to support the team as we deliver the PDP, including our own MoneyHelper dashboard, over the next three years”.

13 October 2023 – Imminently deliverable

On the FT Adviser Podcast, AJ Bell’s Head of Retirement Policy Tom Selby says “dashboards are imminently deliverable with a lot of the hard work already done … and making sure the project goes through to fruition is incredibly important to the trust between industry and Government working together on long-term projects”.

Listen from 10:20.

12 October 2023 – Top questions to PDP

In a blog article, PDP Principal Chris Curry sets out the most common questions he is currently being asked:

  • What examples exist of how dashboards will look?
  • What is connection guidance?
  • When will we see the connection guidance?
  • Will small schemes (<100 members) be required to connect at some point in the future?

11 October 2023 – Digital Identity update

An update article on UKAuthority (the communication channel for public sector digital professionals) explains how PDP’s central Identity Service is scheduled to migrate (from interim provider Digidentity) to the new GOV.UK One Login service in the autumn of 2024. (However, at a webinar on 13 December – see above – PDP say this is still being discussed.)

Previous updates back in June explained how GOV.UK One Login is being developed as a single, reusable form of identity verification for government services, committed to adhering to the key tenets of the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework (which sets the standards & rules for digital identity systems).

10 October 2023 – Key messages from TPR

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) launches a new campaign encouraging pension schemes to get ready for pensions dashboards. Trustees should prepare, collaborate, and take time. Key action: download TPR’s dashboards checklist.

9 October 2023 – To host or not to host?

A really helpful blog article, from independent consultant Ian MacIntyre, addresses the question every bank, master trust, pension provider, fintech, and others, are currently asking themselves, namely:

4 October 2023 – PMI guide & PDP webinar

Every autumn, the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) publishes an industry guide on a certain hot topic. The 2023 PMI Industry Guide is on pensions dashboards.

On the same day, PDP runs a (re)Introduction to pensions dashboards webinar, with TPR.

1 October 2023 – New DC projection basis in force

The new (5.0) FRC basis for defined contribution (DC) pension projections comes into force. In a viewpoint article, LCP Partner Stephen Budge reminds us FRC implemented this despite only a quarter of consultation respondents being supportive of FRC’s proposals.

23 & 27 September 2023 – Standard Life dashboard

Numerous media articles, including an article in The Independent, report on plans from Standard Life (part of Phoenix Group – the UK’s largest retirement and long-term savings provider) to launch a commercial pensions dashboard, once relevant FCA permissions are in place. On 27 September, Pensions Expert asks if this news is a “welcome shot in the arm”.

15 September 2023 – Consumers’ desperate need but 12 months’ notice for schemes

A Pensions Expert article reports on two similar new pieces of research, from My Pension Expert and Cushon, on the proportion of over 55s who don’t know how much pension they have: My Pension Expert’s research found it’s 44%, whereas Cushon found it’s 41%.

My Pension Expert Policy Director Lily Megson says: “Long-awaited pensions dashboards cannot come soon enough. We have to make it easier for people to track their pensions”.

Meanwhile, a Pensions Age article reports Chris Curry’s comments at the Pensions Age Conference that, when staging deadlines are published in guidance, the first schemes and providers will have 6 (or even 12) months’ notice before their data has to be available.

13 September 2023 – PDP “Why?” blog

PDP publishes a blog article reminding readers why pensions dashboards are needed.

5 September 2023 – NAO investigation

Following Nick Smith’s letter (see 17 August below), a PoliticsHome article reports that National Audit Office (NAO) Comptroller and Auditor General Gareth Davies has decided “there would be value in [NAO] undertaking a responsive piece of work on [the Pensions Dashboards Programme] … expecting my team to start work towards the end of this year.”

23 August 2023 – Dashboards personas

In an excellent article, WTW’s Geraldine Brassett explores the different types of people who might use pensions dashboards, and the questions they might have.

17 August 2023 – Reset update, MaPS plan and NAO letter

PDP publishes a brief reset update, encouragingly saying PDP is “keen to ensure we engage with industry to get this right” and “seek input on what changes are needed”.

Separately, MaPS publishes its 2023/24 Corporate Plan, saying in 2023/24 “we will complete the PDP reset, continue work towards connecting pension providers and schemes to the dashboards technical architecture, and continue the delivery of the MaPS MoneyHelper pensions dashboard”.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the National Audit Office (NAO), Labour MP Nick Smith asks the NAO to investigate the delivery of pensions dashboards.

9 August 2023 – Reset FAQs

Subscribers to PDP’s FAQs newsletter receive an email of FAQs on the programme reset. Simon McKinnon is Reset Sponsor and Kim Webb is Reset Director. Focus is on resetting the plan, getting the right resources in place and completing technical documentation. Phase 1 of 3 of the reset is done. Phase 2 (now underway) is defining the actions needed.

27 July 2023 – FCA connection deadline change

Following DWP’s amending regulations (see 19 July below), the FCA makes parallel amendments to the COBS Handbook Rules, changing the dashboards connection deadline for contract-based pension providers from end Aug 2023 to end Oct 2026.

21 July 2023 – House of Commons Briefing

The House of Commons Library publishes an updating research briefing on dashboards with background information on the policy for Parliamentarians (updated on 17 Aug 2023).

20 July 2023 – From Amber to Red

The joint Cabinet Office / HM Treasury Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) publishes its 2022/23 Annual Report on the 244 Major Projects right across Government. PDP appears for the third year, but has moved from Amber to Red (as verbally reported to the Work and Pensions Committee last week – see below).

Remember this is now a year out of date as it was the result of the IPA Review of PDP in July 2022. The WPC weren’t happy about this last week if you watch it back.

19 July 2023 – Amending Regulations made

The secondary legislation replacing schemes’ dashboards connection staging profile with a single connection deadline (31 October 2026) is made in the Pensions Dashboards (Amendment) Regulations 2023 Statutory Instrument 858, coming into force on 9 August.

18 July 2023 – Dashboards a catalyst

In an insightful article, Trafalgar House’s Fay Henrick highlights an issue which will become much clearer as we approach the launch of dashboards: dashboards increase, rather than reduce, the need for schemes and providers to have really good online solutions.

17 July 2023 – £45m so far

In her response to a written Parliamentary question, Pensions Minister Laura Trott MP outlines how the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) has spent £45.3 million so far.

12 July 2023 – WPC session

The Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) conducts a one-off oral evidence session on dashboards hearing in detail from:

  • MaPS Chair Sara Weller
  • MaPS PDP Principal Chris Curry
  • Pensions Minister Laura Trott MP
  • DWP Director for Private Pensions Tom Josephs
  • New Chair of the PDP Board Simon McKinnon.

After the WPC had been told that Simon, having led the DWP reset review of the programme, will now become the new Chair of the PDP Board, Simon said:

“That is a measure of my confidence that this is deliverable. If you had gone in and done the reset, as I did when I was in DWP, and concluded that this was a basket case, why on earth would you take on the role of chairing the programme board going forward?

Watch the session here and read a transcript here.

8 June 2023 – Ministerial Statement and PASA Guidance

In a Written Ministerial Statement, Pensions Minister Laura Trott announces that the Pensions Dashboards Regulations will be amended to remove schemes’ statutory connection deadlines, with a new staging timeline being published in guidance. The FCA makes a corresponding statement in respect of pension providers’ connection deadlines.

On the same day, PASA launches Dashboards Values Guidance for pension schemes, as part of their constructive call to “maintain momentum” on the dashboards initiative. Meanwhile, the PLSA calls for the “programme to work in a very open, transparent and collaborative way”, whilst the ABI says “a genuinely collaborative approach with industry will be essential”.

2 June 2023 – Will they ever happen? Yes!

In a well-informed article in global fintech publication DisruptionBanking, Mike Davies says “we can only hope [Moneyhub’s] contributions will help to drive the new system forward”.

31 May 2023 – State Pension research

A new research report for Phoenix Insights by the KCL Policy Institute finds people have very low understanding of State Pension, e.g. how you qualify, what you get, the fact it’s not pre-funded, and so on. In the study’s deliberatively workshops, some research participants also didn’t understand the difference between State Pension and Workplace Pensions.

Participants repeatedly suggested Government should be more hands on ensuring employers provide employees with sufficient information about their workplace pension and offering check-ups on their financial planning at regular intervals. They said this should include raising awareness about what was needed for people to be financially comfortable in retirement, i.e. how much money they would require to support themselves in later life.

Participants also recounted personal experiences losing track of pensions, feeling the state and employers should work together to ensure workers have support to keep track of their pensions, i.e. they spontaneously articulated their need for dashboards.

25 May 2023 – AJ Bell disappointment

In AJ Bell’s half year results announcement, CEO Michael Summersgill highlights disappointment at the PDP reset although it “does at least provide an opportunity to review some areas which are in need of improvement if pensions dashboards are to be effective”.

9 May 2023 – PDP Progress Update, Consent Research and PASA Video Chat

The Pensions Dashboards Programme publishes:

2 May 2023 – Penalty Act Royal Assent

Royal Assent is granted to the Pensions Dashboards (Prohibition of Indemnification) Act 2023, making it a criminal offence for pension scheme trustees to reimburse themselves, using scheme assets, in respect of penalties imposed under the dashboards regulations.

21 April 2023 – PLSA webinar

The PLSA posts a recording of their 20 April Policy Insights Webinar on dashboards with PDP Principal Chris Curry and TPR Dashboards Industry Engagement Lead Angela Bell.

6 April 2023 – TPR webinar

The Pensions Regulator posts a recording of their 30 March webinar with PASA Chair Kim Gubler.

29 March 2023 – PASA Guidance

The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) publishes two further Guidance notes on dashboards:

23 March 2023 – SEI research and roundtable

SEI republishes a roundtable discussion and an Ignition House research report from 2022 on the fact that people don’t feel a sense of ownership of their pensions. “Seeing all their money in one place”, i.e. on dashboards, was felt to help with this. Whilst the research found that the group keenest on using dashboards are Gen X women (with 48% thinking that pensions dashboards could drive ownership for them).

22 March 2023 – LCP personal data research

LCP publishes a research report showing how schemes can improve the quality of the personal data they hold for their members, especially deferreds, to increase the match rate for pensions dashboards.

17 March 2023 – Don’t waste the reset

In an excellent WTW Briefing, Geraldine Brassett advocates that pension schemes should make use of the extra time afforded by the current pensions dashboards programme reset.

15 March 2023 – Reset FAQs

PDP publishes some FAQs on the programme reset, but without many answers except that “DWP is considering its options and will provide an update to Parliament [by 20 July 2023]”.

9 March 2023 – Onion approach

In an excellent FTAdviser article by Sonia Rach, Eversheds Sutherland Partners Charlotte Cartwright & Emma King discuss a helpful “onion approach” to pensions communications:

“Dashboards are amazing, but they are a snap shot value that ultimately won’t bear any correlation to the amount the person actually gets. Schemes’ websites [are where people] can go to for more detailed information. So depending on somebody’s level of interest and the amount of detail they want to go into, they can peel away at the various layers [i.e. to scheme websites], and deep dive if they really want to get into the nitty gritty, but, if they just want a broad picture or snapshot, they can stay at the outer levels [i.e. dashboards].”

2 March 2023 – Ministerial Statement

A written statement to Parliament from Pensions Minister Laura Trott says the dashboards programme needs more time and will be reset, with a further update by 20 July.

Very encouragingly, MaPS Chief Executive Caroline Siarkiewicz added that we have “the opportunity to collaborate closely with industry partners on the replan [and] way forward”.

Various bodies and firms respond publicly: ABI, Aegon, AJ Bell, LCP, Moneyhub, PASA and PLSA.

24 February 2023 – TPR consultations closes

As TPR’s consultation (launched on 24 November 2022) comes to an end, some responses are put in the public domain:

  • Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) response highlighting the need for TPR to explain: how it will enforce compliance in complex scenarios, what will be acceptable matching rates at launch, and where it will set the bar on data quality especially where data inaccuracies remain beyond pension schemes’ control
  • Sackers response asking for further guidance on when TPR may issue multiple monetary penalties for breaches arising from the same underlying cause, as well as an agreed approach between the FCA, MaPS, TPR and the ICO for how complaints should be handled so people don’t feel they’re being passed from pillar to post
  • Society of Pension Professionals (SPP) response listing other scenarios TPR should consider including a scheme changing third-party administrators or integrated service provider (ISP), an ISP withdrawing from the market, major data breaches, and interaction between TPR and the Pensions Ombudsman
  • The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA) response suggesting TPR considers “connected schemes” where more than one data provider will be returning data relating to the same scheme. TISA also says it will be useful to have an ongoing dialogue between regulators and industry on the whole aspect of matching.

16 February 2023 – FCA and PDP consultations close

As FCA’s and PDP’s consultations (launched on 1 December 2022) come to an end, some responses are put in the public domain:

  • Financial Services Consumer Panel response (FSCP response), emphasising the need to build a robust evidence base of consumer behaviour, in terms of dashboards usage and pensions activity, to define how dashboards should be developed
  • Moneyhub response (press release and detailed blog article), supporting FCA’s outsourcing proposals to help encourage a diverse market of pensions dashboards
  • Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) response (press release and combined FCA/PDP response), focusing on testing to help illuminate risks for administrators and the significant impacts after savers have used dashboards
  • Pensions and Lifetime Saving Association (PLSA) response (press release, FCA response, PDP response), highlighting the need for testing and collaboration
  • Pensions Management Institute (PMI) response (FCA response), flagging that not allowing data export to, say, authorised master trusts, risks creating a two tier system and could impact on competition and innovation
  • Sackers response (FCA response, PDP response), mentioning the importance of testing the display of disclosures, and understanding how MoneyHelper will diverge from QPDS displays
  • Society of Pension Professionals (SPP) response (FCA response, PDP response), suggesting the data export and post-view services provisions may have unintended consequences
  • The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA) response (FCA response, PDP response), suggesting user journeys and research should be published, with further guidance to ensure consistent consumer outcomes whichever dashboard a person uses.

9 February 2023 – HoL Library Briefing

As the Prohibition of Indemnification Bill moves to second reading in the House of Lords (HoL), scheduled for early March, the HoL Library publishes a helpful Briefing Note.

1 February 2023 – Connection is not the DAP

PDP Principal Chris Curry provides a helpful PensionsAge Guest Comment article explaining when dashboards will be launched to the public as the Dashboards Available Point (or DAP).

30 January 2023 – DWP on small pots

As part of a major package of consultations, DWP publishes:

  • a Call for Evidence on small pots solutions, noting that in “Australia, Denmark, Israel and Sweden [dashboards are] operated in conjunction with other policies [to help mitigate the proliferation of small pots]”
  • a Qualitative research report (no 1019) aiming to understand member engagement with workplace pensions, which found that people “with less understanding about pensions did not always see any downside to having multiple pensions” – this may be even more the case once they can see all their different pensions “virtually consolidated” together on a dashboard

10 January 2023 – PASA MT Guidance

The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) publishes dashboards Guidance specifically for master trust (MT) pension schemes which must connect to the pensions dashboards central digital architecture (CDA) over the summer of 2023.

6 January 2023 – Woman’s Hour mention

The FT’s consumer editor Claer Barrett talks about pensions dashboards on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour show (listen from 24:15).

3 January 2023 – Times progress article

The Times kicks off the new year with an article on PDP’s testing progress – a taste of things to come: expect much increased media focus on dashboards progress in 2023.