The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a written ministerial statement providing an update on the publication of connection guidance which includes the new staging timeline for connecting to pensions dashboards.

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Connection timetable update

On 25 March 2024, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) issued a written ministerial statement announcing the publication of the timeline for connecting to pensions dashboards set out in guidance. The timeline has been produced more than the previously promised 12 months ahead of wider industry connecting to the dashboards ecosystem.

This crucial step follows the Pensions Dashboards (Amendment) Regulations 2023 for all occupational pension schemes in scope, and the Financial Conduct Authority rules covering personal and stakeholder pensions, which provided a deadline of 31 October 2026 to have completed connection.

What the guidance covers

DWP’s guidance sets out the staged timetable for when pension providers and schemes in scope of legislation are expected to connect to the dashboards ecosystem. Connection for wider industry will start in April 2025, while the Pensions Dashboards Programme’s (PDP’s) 20-plus volunteer participants will connect from August 2024.

Facilitated by PDP, the connection timetable was informed by DWP engagement sessions with industry. These helped shape an approach which ensures a series of dates are provided for providers and schemes based on type and size.

Having regard to the guidance

While the connection dates are not statutory, pension providers and schemes must have regard to this guidance.

Trustees, managers and pension providers will need to be able to demonstrate upon request how they have considered the guidance when planning and making decisions for their connection to the ecosystem. Failing to do this could result in action by the relevant regulator.

We’ve been encouraged by the feedback we’ve had from leading pension providers who have stated their intentions to adhere to the connection dates in guidance. We will work with industry and partners to support adherence to the dates in guidance and are currently looking at how we can broaden our collaboration with industry to make this as effective as possible.

DWP’s guidance applies to trustees or managers of occupational pension schemes and providers of personal and stakeholder pensions in scope of dashboards legislation. At the same time, it may also be useful to other organisations involved in making dashboards a reality, including administrators, integrated service providers (ISPs), advisers, and potential dashboard providers.

The benefits

The connection deadline of 31 October 2026 provides certainty for industry and also ensures connection remains mandatory. The staging timetable in guidance provides the phased approach to connection that is so important to manage the volume and flow of connections. This helps ensure all pension providers and schemes connect to the ecosystem on time, and supports industry to manage onboarding in a stable and staggered way.

Connecting in line with the staging timetable will also support more extensive user testing, which will in turn make it possible to launch the service to the public as soon as possible.

I’m grateful to all the organisations and individuals who contributed to developing the connection timetable. PDP continues to work with our volunteer participants to prepare for their connection later this year, and we’ll share updates and insights as this progresses.

Chris Curry
Author:
Chris Curry

Published: 09 April 2024

Last updated: 09 April 2024

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