Dashboard data call for input launched as schemes urged to get ‘on the front foot’

Writes James Phillips

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) has launched a formal call for input, seeking industry views on data standards for the initial dashboards.

It follows the PDP’s publication of two working papers in April looking at data scope and data definitions, alongside a progress update report that set out four necessary tests for a successful launch: security, user experience, user behaviours, and coverage.

Mondays’ call for input will run for eight weeks, ending on 31 August, and asks questions on consumer tolerance for low coverage, communications, data supply issues, and voluntary provision of data.

Writing on the PDP’s website, pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman said the paper demonstrated the recognition that the industry and other stakeholders must play a key role in getting data standards right.

“Studying international examples and engaging counterparts in other countries has reinforced the necessity and benefits of gaining industry input in defining data standards at this stage of the project,” he wrote. “I would urge every scheme to take part.

“It is essential for schemes to be on the front foot and to get data ready as soon as possible.”

He later added: “It is in everyone’s interest that all relevant pension organisations are preparing their systems and data now, to help ensure dashboards launch successfully.”

Writing for PA’s sister title Professional Pensions, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) director of policy and research Nigel Peaple said the data process would not be easy, but understanding of pensions would be revolutionised by dashboards.

He wrote: “The scale of the task of onboarding sufficient pension schemes and providers to facilitate broad coverage of individual entitlements is significant. We’ve been encouraging our members to prepare their data for onboarding for some time now.

“In the absence of a defined set of data standards, not to mention confirmed legislation, this is a tall order in the context of other regulatory and change management priorities.”

But, despite the challenges, he said: “That does not mean we shouldn’t all do our best to make them a reality, as soon as we can.”

Smart Pension director of policy Darren Philp welcomed the call for input, hoping it was indicative of the “beginning of an acceleration” in dashboard project work.

He said: “Clear and comprehensive data standards are vital to underpin the dashboard architecture, so this consultation is a very welcome step in developing the pensions dashboard. Agreeing these will allow schemes and providers to plan and develop their data strategies to be dashboard ready.”