Pension Dashboard  

DWP concedes to industry demands on dashboards lead time

DWP concedes to industry demands on dashboards lead time
Credit: Pexels/ Miguel A Padrinan

The Department for Work and Pensions has recognised its proposed 90 days pensions dashboards lead time “creates challenges” for schemes and administrators, and will now give providers a six-month notice before the project goes live.

The government’s response to its latest consultation in this area, published on October 17, also clarifies certain criteria that need to be satisfied for the work and pensions secretary to issue the six-month formal notice for the live date.

The project will need to have sufficient coverage, it must work effectively, have safety and security, and be a positive user experience for the saver.

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Launched on June 28 and closed on July 19, the consultation was designed to provide clarity in two areas concerning the 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.

Majority of respondents push back on 90 days’ notice

As reported by Pensions Expert in July, respondents to the consultation argued that the timeline for making the initiative accessible to the public is too short, with experts continuing to warn of a capacity crunch.

From a total of 49 responses received, almost 70 per cent of these stated that “90 days was an unreasonable notice period”, pointing out to resource implications.

For example, respondents noted that “seeing information on a dashboard could prompt some scheme members to make contact to request information that goes beyond the standard data that schemes must supply to dashboards”.

This could include requests for bespoke quotes, information about death and ill-health benefits, and details of forgotten pensions, the consultation response detailed.

Other issues could entail resolving a “possible match” on an individual’s dashboard, which means members will need to contact their scheme.

Also, “some individuals with pensions that are out of scope of the regulations may contact their scheme for more information on why their information does not show on dashboards”, it stated.

Respondents “also highlighted that to effectively communicate dashboards to the public in time for their launch, 90 days was considered insufficient, whereas six months would allow for a more effective communications campaign rollout”, the government said.

In response to the industry concerns, and after recognising that its initial proposal “creates challenges for the organisations which will need to prepare” for the dashboards, the DWP amended the timeline to six months.

In the ministerial forward to the consultation response, former pensions minister Guy Opperman said: “By making this change to at least six months’ notice, the regulations provide greater certainty for the pensions industry to make final preparations for the public launch of pensions dashboards services.

“The government also remains committed to working transparently with industry about when the formal notice of the dashboards available point will be issued.”