Chris Curry, Principal of the Pensions Dashboards Programme, looks ahead at the project designed to help revolutionise the way people engage with pensions.
Every journey begins with a small step. This month I took my own small step in the journey to providing a framework for the development of pensions dashboards in the UK.
Of course, this is not the start of the journey for dashboards – that began a while ago, and the brilliant team at the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) have been ensuring that the journey has been continuing behind the scenes for the last few months. But even in the short time that I have been with the team, real progress is being made.
Kicking off the project
My first week wasn’t the usual induction programme – a pile of reading, new staff passes, more new names and faces than it is ever possible to remember – but preparation for the first meeting of the MaPS Board sub-committee that is accountable for the pensions dashboard project, and a catch-up with the Pensions Minster who reiterated his support.
Week two was the sub-committee meeting itself, and the beginning of the handover of the project from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to MaPS, which will be formally signed off over the summer. There were some other important decisions made at this meeting, one of the most important concerning the selection process for the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) steering group that will help to drive the development of the pensions dashboards ecosystem.
The role of the PDP steering group
This group will be the key linkage between the project, industry and consumers, and it is vital that we attract the best individuals into the group, with the right balance to make sure that pensions dashboards work for consumers. We will be inviting applications over the summer, and hope to confirm appointments in September in time for a first meeting in October.
But the PDP is forming more than just a steering group. Feeding in to it will also be a number of expert-filled working groups that we will set up to ensure that we benefit from the wide range of experience and expertise that exists, and to help us get things right first time. We are aiming to fill these groups in the coming months, and will be looking for volunteers – you have been warned!
As well as setting up the governance and building the team for the project, there are three other priorities I have in view.
The first is hopefully to support a Pensions Bill as DWP takes it through Parliament. The bill will provide for mandatory participation in providing information and data for pensions dashboards.
The second will be setting the road map – where we are aiming to go, how we are going to get there and how long it will take. We are currently working hard on that with Cap Gemini.
Our final priority (in this list at least) will be further work on finalising the data standards required for pensions dashboards. One of the things that I have heard most from industry in the short time I have been here at MaPS is the importance of getting the data standards agreed as soon as possible. They have to be the right standards. But the sooner they are agreed, the sooner the industry can work towards meeting them and preparing for pensions dashboards themselves.
All in all it has been a packed two weeks!
Thank you all for the huge amount of interest in the pensions dashboards project and the work that my team are doing. As I’m doing this job alongside my other role as director at Pensions Policy Institute I’ll have to manage my time carefully, but I look forward to working alongside you and receiving your applications for the PDP steering group and expressions of interest in the working groups over the summer.