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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Qualitative research providing an evidence base for pensions dashboards

Rita Patel, Lead Analyst for the Pensions Dashboards Programme, explores how PDP’s ongoing programme of research provides the evidence base for decisions relating to pensions dashboards.

At the Pensions Dashboard Programme (PDP) we want to ensure we have a sound evidence base to underpin decisions about strategy, policy and delivery. Our ongoing research programme, together with our industry liaison and user testing work means we can work towards creating a product that will fulfil user needs and expectations. To this end, we have shared our work and thoughts with the DWP and FCA to inform their decisions on the proposed regulations and rules they’ll be consulting on.

Since the start of the programme, we’ve sought to understand the existing evidence base relating to pensions dashboards. As I discussed in an earlier blog, our rapid evidence assessment enabled us to identify information gaps, and we appointed Ipsos MORI in early 2021 to work with us to help us fill some of these.

Our most recent publication is the qualitative research report Ipsos MORI has created on our behalf into the motivations, attitudes and behaviours of users around engaging with pensions via dashboards.

The fieldwork took place in two stages over a period of several months. We published our initial findings in July 2021 and this most recent publication combines the findings of both sets of fieldwork. This research with potential end users of pensions dashboards looked to:

  • update the findings from various previous pensions dashboards research studies
  • explore the appeal of the pensions dashboards concept itself 
  • examine views on potential dashboard display contents
  • understand attitudes to particular elements of the envisaged customer journey
  • investigate tolerances for only partial information about their pensions being available initially

Research findings

Our research found that respondents reacted almost uniformly positively to the concept of pensions dashboards. We believe that dashboards could help drive increased pensions knowledge and engagement across a wide range of users. The age and life-stage of interviewees, together with the number and type of pensions they held influenced the level of appeal, with those at a mid to late stage in their career, and those with multiple pension pots being most interested.

In response to suggestions from our call for input on staging that we explored consumers’ reactions to a find-only service to begin with, we tested reactions to the inclusion or exclusion of different components of information. This identified that a find and view service, containing both accrued and projected value information had a wide level of appeal and resonated with the broadest possible range of potential end users. The research showed that consumers expect to see value information (both accrued and projected) on dashboards. It is a priority in terms of the most essential elements of information for users, along with the pension start date and retirement age.