1 March 2024 – Good Housekeeping magazine

This blog likes to keep abreast of pensions dashboards mentions in the wider media, i.e. not just the specialist pensions, financial services and technology media.

Following dashboards’ mention on BBC R4 Woman’s Hour at the start of 2023, this year they get a mention in the March 2024 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

Maybe this reflects SEI’s research finding (see the 23 March 2023 entry on the 2023 page) that it’s Gen X women who most want to use pensions dashboards?

19 February 2024 – New FCA Regulated Activity

UK consumers move a step closer to seeing all their pensions together on their favourite banking, pension or money management app on their phone as “Operating a pensions dashboard service” becomes a new FCA Regulated Activity, into force in two weeks.

13 February 2024 – The lang cat industry research, PDP CDA blog, and HoL debate

The lang cat publishes an industry research report from 24 anonymised 1-to-1 interviews, in summer 2023, with recognised pension policy and/or technical experts. On dashboards, “the general consensus is that dashboards should and will happen … [with] three clear messages:

  • State Pension must be included
  • a strong call not to try to deliver too much at the outset: industry would much prefer a live minimum viable product, followed by incremental improvements, rather than attempting to deliver fully armed & operational dashboards from day 1
  • dashboards should be delivered ahead of any implementation work on small pots [solutions]”.

Meanwhile, a new blog article from PDP Principal Chris Curry explains the Central Digital Archictecture (CDA) of the pensions dashboards ecosystem.

And finally, there’s a fantastically well-informed House of Lords debate on the HM Treasury Statutory Instrument making “Operating a pensions dashboard service” a new FCA-regulated activity, between the Government Parliamentary Secretary Baroness Vere, Labour’s Lord Livermore and LibDem’s Lord Sharkey:

9 February 2024 – Five advantages of QPDSs

Corporate Adviser Editor John Greenwood kindly publishes my independent article explaining the numerous reasons why commercial dashboards (QPDSs) have strong cross-party support.

8 February 2024 – Ministerial delivery focus

A Professional Adviser article reports on Minister for Pensions Paul Maynard’s comments, at the lang cat’s Regenerate 2024 conference, that dashboards remain a key DWP priority.

2 February 2024 – DWP deferral guidance

DWP updates its guidance to schemes on applying to defer their connection to the PDP Central Digital Architecture (CDA). Applications must be submitted by 8 August 2024.

29 January 2024 – HMT Regulated Activity Debate

At the Delegated Legislation Committee debate on HMT’s legislative amendment making “Operating a pensions dashboard service” an FCA-regulated activity, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury Tulip Siddiq MP is very supportive – watch/read again below.

It’s very helpful for industry to have certainty around QPDSs whatever the outcome of the upcoming General Election. Tulip’s statements included:

  1. Labour support any initiative that helps people manage their finances and save for later life.
  2. These changes [i.e. QPDSs] are long overdue.
  3. To reach their potential, dashboards must be incorporated into services people already use.
  4. When will the FCA publish its final [QPDS] rules?
  5. Does the Government expect commercial dashboards and the MoneyHelper dashboard to be available at the same time?
  6. Will dashboards rely on other Government plans, such as the new GOV.UK One Login service?
  7. Some commercial dashboards will present other financial data alongside pensions which is one of the main benefits to consumers: to see all their finances in one place.

Read again here: https://lnkd.in/eixNnbm7
Watch again here: https://lnkd.in/efFVkFbv

25 January 2024 – PDP advisory group

PDP publishes an open invitation for individuals to apply to be part of its (new?) advisory group, giving them 12 working days to apply by 12 February.

17 January 2024 – PDP webinar

PDP hosts a webinar for data providers with speakers from DWP, PASA, the LGA and TPR:

16 January 2024 – New dashboard providers group

In a blog article, PDP announces that in 2024 it “plans to set up a connection working group for potential dashboard providers, once FCA rules have been finalised”. The blog also covers the other, previously announced, ways PDP is engaging with industry.

10 January 2024 – Important WPC update

At a routine (non-inquiry) oral evidence session of the Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) – about the DWP Annual Report and Accounts 2022/23 – Committee member Nigel Mills MP asks about dashboards progress (see Questions 47-51 of 70 in the session transcript).

There were positive responses from the three very senior DWP officials on the session panel:

  • Peter Schofield: Permanent Secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Katie Farrington: DWP Director General for Disability, Health and Pensions
  • Neil Couling: DWP Director General for Change and Resilience, also Senior Responsible Owner for Universal Credit and DWP lead on fraud and error.

Key points made by Peter, Katie and Neil:

Reason for reset: Peter said DWP agreed with the (former) MaPS Chair to put the programme into reset because they needed to take stock. The technology was right but the impact of the sheer scale of the connections that needed to be made was more than people really understood. They needed to go through a proper process of looking again at the programme.

Reset is progressing: Katie said the programme continues in reset, but is making quite good progress with the team having increasing confidence about delivery. One of DWP’s own programme directors is now leading this forward (this is Simon McKinnon, former DWP Director General for Digital – see 12 July 2023 entry on the 2023 page of this blog).

Reset confidence: Peter said Simon is giving him a huge amount of assurance that, technologically, the programme is absolutely doable, but “it is the scale of the connections that need to be done, with 3,000 pension providers, that is the thing. That is a question of time. It is a question of engagement with the industry, of course, but it is a question of time rather than a question of doability”. Neil added: “the programme is in a much better position than it was six months ago, which caused us to put it into reset, so [we are giving ourselves] the time, [to] test, go small, then go bigger later; that is the way to run major programmes, in my view”.

Guidance on staging dates for data connections: Katie confirmed this is expected “in the spring”.

Moving the programme out of reset: Together, Peter, Katie, MaPS Chair Sara Weller, and new MaPS CEO Oliver Morley (starts on 1 Feb) form the programme reset “executive” and they will make a decision about when to move the programme forward out of reset.

Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) rating: The previous IPA assessment of the programme as Red (see 20 July on the 2023 page) will be reassessed when the programme comes out of reset.

Interdependencies: In addition to the independency on the pensions industry to connect their data, Katie also mentioned the interdependency on Capgemini, which is providing the IT platform (but she didn’t mention the third critical dependency on the new GOV.UK One Login Service – see 11 October on the 2023 page). These interdependencies will continue to be monitored and the risks managed, “but the assessment that we have had is that it is deliverable”.

Dashboards Available Point (DAP): DWP will work with the industry and MaPS to determine when the DAP can be, but it “could well be quite a lot sooner than October 2026 [with] six months’ notice before that—so perhaps not so very far away”.

Watch the session here (the 6½ minutes in question is from 11:10:15 to 11:16:45).

9 January 2024 – NAO investigation

The National Audit Office (NAO) announces its investigation into PDP, scheduled to take place during “Spring 2024”.

1 January 2024 – Penalty act comes into force

The 10th year of this blog starts with a minor legislative change:

The Pensions Dashboards (Prohibition of Indemnification) Act 2023 which makes it a criminal offence for pension scheme trustees to use scheme assets to reimburse themselves for any penalties imposed under the dashboards regulations (see the 9 February 2023 entry on the 2023 page), comes into force from 1 January 2024.