DWP gives go-ahead for dashboard roll-out to begin in 2019

Jonathan Stapleton and Stephanie Baxter report

Amber Rudd, credit: Parliament.UK

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published its response to its consultation on pensions – asking the industry to “create and test” consumer-facing dashboards by the end of the year.

Key details of the government’s plans – published today in its response to a consultation on dashboards – include:

  • A commitment to bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity to compel all pension providers to make consumers’ data available to them through a dashboard;
  • An expectation that the majority of schemes will be ready to ‘go live’ with their data within a three to four-year window;
  • Confirmation that state pension information will not be included immediately, but as soon as possible afterwards

The government said it supported the development of multiple industry-led dashboards displaying the same basic information – noting the industry had told government that initial models would be developed and tested from this year.

A non-commercial dashboard will be delivered and overseen by the new Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB), which will bring together an industry delivery group to set out a clear timetable and roadmap to drive progress towards fully operational dashboards, setting standards and ensuring security to protect users and their information.

Commenting on the proposals, work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd said: “With record numbers saving for retirement as a result of our revolutionary reforms, it’s more important than ever that people understand their pensions and prepare for financial security in later life.

“Dashboards have the potential to transform the way we all think about and plan for retirement, providing clear and simple information regarding pension savings in one place online. I’m looking forward to seeing the first industry dashboards later this year.”

The DWP said that, while it intended to introduce primary legislation to force pension schemes to make consumers’ data available, it understood that, for practical reasons, it would have to be done in stages.

It said compelling all schemes to participate in dashboards at the same time was not a practical option due to the sheer volume of schemes that needed to be connected to the dashboard ecosystem.

Staged timeline

Schemes will be compelled by a staged timeline that prioritises membership and coverage – and large defined contribution schemes are expected to be among the first in any compulsory staging although some may connect to the ecosystem earlier, on a voluntary basis.

The DWP urged schemes to “start getting ready now”, particularly in terms of preparing data, and noted that it didnot expect the information required initially to be complex.

This year’s key priorities for the industry will be for schemes to prepare their data to be ready within a three to four-year timeframe; to work with the industry delivery group on setting data standards; and to offer opportunities to supply data on a voluntary basis to inform delivery. Another priority is for interested Financial Conduct Authority authorised firms to create and test their own dashboards, working collaboratively with the delivery group.