5. Collaborating to create data standards

The success of the Pensions Dashboards Programme is dependent on collaboration with our key stakeholders in government, the regulators and the pensions industry itself.

It’s important to stress that dashboards themselves will not make any calculations. Instead, the pensions dashboards ecosystem works as a switchboard, connecting the information held by providers with individuals.

This makes it essential that pension providers ensure that their data is ready for connection to pensions dashboards in the near future.

Earlier this year, we commissioned qualitative research with pension providers to better understand the potential data issues that different types of providers might encounter when integrating with the pensions dashboards ecosystem.

We also issued a call for input on data standards, which generated over 60 responses from a range of consumer facing and pensions industry organisations.

We have taken the information from this research, together with input from our Data Working Group, which focused on potential solutions to the data challenges.

The result is this outline of the data elements that providers will need to prepare, in order to integrate with pensions dashboards. The data elements include:

  • find data elements – that providers will need to match against, to connect individuals to their pensions
  • view data elements – that providers will need to return to dashboards to enable individuals to see their pensions information.

We will continue to user test these elements, through the Usability Working Group and further research. Although there is more work to do to fine-tune how these data elements will be implemented in practice and develop them into technical standards, we do not expect the basic list to change.

Our list of data elements therefore provides the pensions industry with sufficient certainty to start the process of preparing its users’ data for integration with pensions dashboards, as well as an indication of priority areas for attention.  The data elements that we have identified for initial dashboards are unlikely to change.

What will final data standards look like and how do we get there?

Data standards will define the specified pensions information that will be safely found and displayed on dashboards, in a timely manner, for each of an individual’s different pensions. 

Once finalised, the standards will be part of the legal framework for dashboards that will be in regulations and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules. This will make it compulsory for pension providers to connect to the dashboards ecosystem, to allow individuals to view their pensions in one place.

The Pensions Dashboards Programme will procure the digital architecture that will sit behind pensions dashboards as part of the next phase of our activity. Once this is in place, along with a full set of security, service and technical standards, we will provide the implementable technical schema that makes up a full set of data standards for initial dashboards.

What happens next?

Following the digital architecture procurement, the Pensions Dashboard Programme will undertake further testing to determine:

  • to what extent users can provide the chosen data elements required to find their pensions, to determine the likely coverage
  • to what extent providers can a) match pensions against their chosen find data elements and b) the combinations they need to use to match effectively
  • how users want their pension information presented on dashboards, to refine its visual presentation and to understand how a user is likely to act when presented with it
  • the user appetite for future additions to pensions dashboards, to shape further development

Evolving data standards in the future

Data standards will likely evolve over time as part of a process of continual improvement of pensions dashboards.

Additional items that we will consider user testing in the future could be:

  • annual income increases (ie on top of the initial at retirement ERIs) 
  • beneficiaries data (ie prospective recipients of death benefits) 
  • benefits payable to dependents on death after retirement 
  • benefits payable to dependents on death before retirement 
  • benefits payable immediately (eg pensions in payment, drawdown) 
  • cash lump sum options on (and in) retirement (eg tax free cash) 
  • contributions data in previous year (potential split between employer and employee, covering salary sacrifice, tax relief, transfers in etc) 
  • contributions data totals
  • defined contribution (DC) pension investment data (such as investment funds, environmental social governance / climate-related financial disclosures data, performance, charges etc) 
  • tax data (eg tax payable on gross ERI, net ERI, allowances etc) 
  • other areas of data highlighted as important by user testing 

Next page: Data standards guide

1. Introduction to data standards

2. Actions for pensions providers

3. Find data

4. View data


Further information on data standards

Please check our frequently asked questions for further information.

If you have any additional queries about our data standards publications please email [email protected].

Our glossary provides a useful set of definitions for some of the terms you may come across in these pages.