Department for Work & Pensions  

DWP dashboards consultation criticised over launch date proposals

DWP dashboards consultation criticised over launch date proposals
Pexels/Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush

A second government consultation into pensions dashboards has been criticised over plans to give schemes just 90 days’ notice before the dashboards go live, with experts warning of a capacity crunch.

Published on June 28, the consultation is designed to provide clarity on two areas concerning dashboards.

The first is the go-live date, known as the “dashboards available point,” and the second covers the sharing of information between The Pensions Regulator and the Money and Pensions Service.

It follows a previous consultation, launched in January, into draft dashboard regulations that was likewise met with criticism over the scale of the work it entailed for schemes, with the DWP’s insistence on both ‘find’ and ‘view’ functionality being available at launch deemed unfeasible by many industry commentators.

Schemes will have 90 days’ notice

The DWP acknowledged the feedback to its proposals in its new consultation, specifically the industry’s insistence that the dashboards available point be “carefully selected” and “be based on a range of criteria that have been carefully tested and goes beyond just achieving a certain level of coverage”. 

“The department expects the evidence which will shape the DAP criteria to emerge through private beta testing when the programme can test the service with invited users at scale,” the consultation explained.

The industry also said it would “value more certainty around the DAP to ensure schemes are prepared for an increase in queries, can cope operationally and can effectively manage communication to their members,” and that the eventual date should be agreed between the DWP, Maps, TPR and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The DWP also acknowledged the several respondents to the first consultation who questioned whether a phased, incremental approach to the DAP might not be preferable to a single launch date, leading the department to promise “a provision on the DAP within the pensions dashboards regulations”. 

“We want to give pension schemes, prospective dashboard providers and members of the public a further opportunity to provide meaningful feedback on the proposal,” it said.

It further committed itself to ensuring that the industry has “sufficient lead in time” between the announcement of the DAP and the point at which it occurs, with the secretary of state’s announcement of the date serving as “a final confirmation”.

“We therefore believe 90 days notice is sufficient as the point at which a final confirmation of the DAP is made,” it said.

Launch date proposals criticised

Though the industry has long been broadly supportive of the intent behind dashboards, the practicalities of delivering them and the DWP’s specific requirements have frequently met with criticism, and its plans for the launch date - or the “dashboards available point” - are no exception.

The date itself is not expected to be finalised until certain conditions have been met, principally having to do with dashboards coverage, and the collection of evidence pertaining to user understanding and experience.

Currently, it is expected dashboards will go live at some point in the summer of 2024, though the DWP has yet to set a firm date.