The ecosystem technical working group: accessing industry expertise to refine standards
Helen Scriminger, Standards and Governance Lead at the Pensions Dashboards Programme, provides an update on the programme’s latest working group and how it’s contributing to the development of technical standards.
In addition to developing the central digital architecture that will make pensions dashboards work, the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) is responsible for developing the technical standards that will apply to all parties connecting to the pensions dashboards ecosystem. These technical standards will provide the detail of how pensions providers and dashboard providers will need to connect in consistent way.
PDP relies on collaboration with the pensions industry and our delivery partners to make dashboards happen and the process of developing technical standards is no exception. It’s essential that we develop standards together with industry, in order to work towards a positive solution for all parties, where possible.
Many of the organisations that will provide data to the pensions dashboards ecosystem have considerable experience of developing their own digital products. To draw on that technical expertise as we develop our own technical standards, PDP has set up the ecosystem technical working group (ETWG).
Purpose of the ecosystem technical working group
The group serves a dual purpose. It provides an opportunity for application programming interface (API) experts from within organisations that plan to connect to the central digital architecture to help refine the technical standards that their organisations will need to use. At the same time, PDP benefits from their experience and understanding of developing digital products for the pensions industry.
Over the next few months, the ETWG aims to:
- contribute to the refinement of a set of technical standards, enabling comprehensive and consistent coverage of all organisations connecting to the central digital architecture
- address all necessary technical standards challenges for initial connection to the central digital architecture
- contribute to the change process and policies
- input into how technical standards could be curated
In the longer term, the ambition is for the ETWG to provide a peer user/working group to discuss and help to resolve technical issues and challenges.
Progress to date
The group met for the first time in August 2021. It has held four meetings to date across August and September. The group’s first meetings were full of lively debate and probing questions, with a number of areas fleshed out for further discussion.
So far, we have covered the following topics:
- introductions, scene setting and an overview of the architecture
- detailed discussions on:
- the API that data providers will need to implement to receive find requests from the central digital architecture
- the API data providers will need to implement to return pensions information to a dashboard provider
- user managed access (UMA), which provides the trust framework for pension owners to manage access to their pension information. This includes the registering of their pension information (PeI) token with the consent and authorisation server
- format and definition of the PeI token, so that it is standard across the industry
With the announcement of Capgemini with Origo to supply the central digital architecture, we have paused the meetings until October, so that they will also be able to join in with the group. The schedule is still under construction but we expect it to contain more technical discussion on non-functional requirements (NFRs) ie the properties of the ecosystem that dictate how it should behave, such as security, usability and so on, PeI tokens and dashboard connectivity.
Joining the ecosystem technical working group
The ETWG is currently open to all interested parties, who wish to contribute to the technical standards with the objective of connecting to the central digital architecture. We’re open to new members joining us, when we resume meetings in October 2021.
Following initial testing phases and the implementation of legislation, the group will be open to all firms participating in the ecosystem.
If you’re interested in joining the ecosystem technical working group, contact us at: email@example.com