Pensions Dashboard recommendations published

The Pensions Dashboard Project Group has published a list of 10 recommendations which it believes are necessary for the Pensions Dashboard to be a success.

In September’s edition of Compass, we reported that the Association of British Insurers (ABI) had called on the Government to introduce legislation to make participation in the Pensions Dashboard compulsory.  In a further development, the Pensions Dashboard Project Group has now published a report entitled Reconnecting people with their pensions which includes a list of 10 key recommendations that the group believes are required to be put in place in order for the Pensions Dashboard to succeed.

These recommendations have been formed following project research which focused on four workstreams: consumer research, industry research, data standards and requirements. This project took place without Government involvement because June’s snap General Election led to the Government suspending engagement with the project at that time. 

Key recommendations

The overall recommendation is that:

citizens should have a right to access information about all of their pensions in one place of their choice in a standardised digital format, via regulated services.

This overarching aim can then be broken down further into 10 specific recommendations which are summarised below.

 Recommendation

More information

1

All pension providers and schemes should be compelled to make data available.  

The data is to be made available to consumers via regulated third parties and would require legislation to be introduced by the Government to enforce compulsion by a specified date.

2

The DWP must make State Pension data available on the Dashboard from day one.  

Consumer research has shown that the State Pension is seen as the anchor of pensions information and will provide the majority of retirement income for many.

3

A non-commercial service, endorsed by the Government, must be made available.  

A dashboard that is sales-free and Government-backed is regarded as vital for it to be seen as completely impartial. An early decision needs to be made on what role Government or a guidance body will play in hosting the dashboard itself as this will affect the commercial services market.   

4

The Government must enable an ‘open pensions’ infrastructure that allows consumers to access their data via regulated third parties.

Research has identified significant scope for innovation with ‘open pensions’ data being only a part of wider information used to enable consumers to manage their overall financial well-being.

5

Dashboards and any other third party services showing consumer data must be regulated to ensure consistency.

Legislation on consumer protection will be required to establish one or more new regulated activities, likely to be overseen by the FCA.

6

An implementation plan and timetable must be put in place.

This should be endorsed by the Government and the pensions industry and include a planned approach to funding the implementation and a communications programme.

7

An implementation entity must be charged with delivering the service and its governance.

This includes establishing a funded governance body to oversee the network and to establish and manage data standards, data security and data sharing agreements.  

8

Data must be made available in a standardised digitally consumable format.

The industry will need to agree the standards for this data and will be responsible for delivering it but ultimately it will need to be mandated by the Government and regulators.

9

Infrastructure needs to be put in place to link pension schemes to dashboard providers.

The prototype was developed on the basis that contributors would connect with one central service but this approach needs to be officially recognised by the Government to give certainty to data providers and users.  

10

An identity assurance scheme must be agreed.

Providers and pension schemes will need to be certain of the identity of the individual and this requires a policy decision to be taken about the use of private sector digital identity services similar to the gov.uk Verify service.

Next steps

The Project Group has stated that there are now two clear steps which need to happen in order for progress to be made.

The first step is for the Government to confirm whether it views delivering these recommendations as a priority and indicate whether it will compel schemes to make data available. In a significant boost to the project, the Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, has since been quoted in the media as reiterating the DWP’s support for the creation of the Pensions Dashboard:

I want to make it clear that the project will go ahead. The dashboard is a key part of our desire to ensure consumers are able to understand their pensions and plan properly for their future.

The second step is for the pensions industry to fund and run the next phase of the project development, develop firm and detailed proposals and instigate an implementation plan. However, these actions will all depend on the position taken by the Government. 

 

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