But on calmer reflection, it is a decision that will bring us some benefits and had probably become inevitable. It will give more time for us to build good systems, and more time for pension schemes to choose an intermediary ISP to connect through.
The political pressure to deliver this summer’s deadline for large schemes and personal pensions to be connected up was just too great. The right to left planning had led to a number of project stages that should have run sequentially instead being stacked up and run in parallel.
It had become like a building site with too many of the trades working on the same piece at the same time, and the member experience was suffering.
An example of the sort of problem that the designers were encountering is what happens downstream after a member gets told that they are a potential match, that they might have a pension at scheme B and need to contact them to discuss further.
Dashboards are too important a part of the drive to greater member engagement to jeopardise them like this.
Many of these matches will turn out to be 'false positives', but there was only a strictly time limited patch in place to remove these people from the system.
They would soon find, on a return visit to a dashboard, that they were again told they might have a pension at scheme B. That’s a bad consumer journey, and would discredit the dashboard and create tension and loss of trust with pension savers.
Dashboards are too important a part of the drive to greater member engagement to jeopardise them like this. The whole ecosystem is also an enormous data security risk, and in an age of increasingly frequent cyber attacks we must ensure all data aspects are rock solid before we let the enquiries commence.
We certainly do not want lists of pension member details appearing in the Moscow Times, as that would really embarrass our country.
I am hoping that the reset will give an opportunity for the Dashboards Programme to grasp what an integral part of UK pensions national insurance numbers are. I think that everywhere I have worked in pensions, national insurance numbers have been a key part of a customer’s record.