Rita Patel Published by: Rita Patel  

As anyone involved in pensions dashboards knows, making them happen is a complex process, with multiple stakeholders and moving parts. What unites everything that we’re doing, is ensuring that what we’re creating now, will answer the needs of UK pensions dashboards users in the future.  

As a Research Analyst for the Pensions Dashboard Programme, I work on a central strand of the Pensions Dashboards Programme activity in continuing to develop a body of research and analysis into user needs when it comes to pensions dashboards. We want to have a sound evidence base to underpin decisions about strategy, policy and delivery.  

This should include rigorous, relevant and timely evidence, to learn more about what prevents some people from planning and saving for retirement and how to enable individuals to access their pensions information online, securely and in one place. We have made several significant steps in this regard, within the last few weeks.  

Understanding existing evidence 

The foundation of our research and analysis activity involves understanding the existing evidence base. To assist with this, we have appointed The Behavioural Insights Team to deliver a rapid evidence assessment (REA). It will explore the existing literature to understand how people’s engagement with pensions can be increased via dashboards.  

International examples of pensions dashboards, such as in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands provide useful insight for our own programme. Our REA will enable us to add to this information and look at the totality of the evidence base, as well as identifying and assessing any evidence gaps. 

A focus on user testing 

Our current research projects build upon the work done to date, such as the Call for Input into data standards. This provided insight into the operational challenges we face in connecting the wide range of data providers to pensions dashboards.  But more than that, it underlined how the data must deliver the user needs, as set out in our latest progress report.  

Our newly convened Usability Working Group met on 4 November to continue this focus on user testing. The Usability Working Group includes representatives from consumer bodies and potential dashboard providers, with the aim of ensuring users input into the development of pensions dashboards.  

The group identified the need to define roles and responsibilities around user testing. A number of key issues were also identified related to the programme that we will look into over the next 6-12 months.  

In December, we will publish our first iteration of data standards to inform the find data that will flow from pensions dashboards to schemes and providers, and the view data that they will supply in turn to users via dashboards. You can watch our video on the pensions dashboards ecosystem for more about how this works. We will test the data standards with dashboard users, through focused user testing, which will inform further iterations of these standards. 

Appointing a research agency 

In addition, at the start of this month, we issued an invitation to tender for a call-off contract to provide a range of research and analysis services for the Pensions Dashboards Programme. The appointed research agency will help us to fill our priority evidence gaps over the course of the programme, with a particular focus on understanding a range of user attitudes, actions and behaviours. These include: 

We’re looking forward to seeing the fruition of this range of research activity, as it forms a firm foundation for our future activity. After all, this evidence is what will underpin our understanding of user needs, which in turn will support our strategy and policy decisions.  

Meeting user needs around pensions dashboards is central to our programme activity. And that involves building a thorough understanding of those needs, through consultation, research and analysis. We’re always keen to hear about relevant insight – if you have any information to share on what works in engaging people with saving and planning for their retirement via dashboards or digitally, we’d love to hear about it. You can email us: [email protected]