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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The central digital architecture: what it is and how it works

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) is working with pension providers and schemes to help connect to the ‘dashboards ecosystem’. The ecosystem is made up of pensions dashboards themselves, find and view interfaces for pensions providers and schemes (or the third parties managing connection on their behalf), and the central digital architecture.

The central digital architecture is at the heart of the ecosystem. This is what connects pensions providers and schemes with dashboards. It enables the flow of data between them so that users can search for and receive back accurate pensions information.

The architecture consists of three services: the identity service, the consent and authorisation service, and the pensions finder service. Together, these services facilitate the exchange of pensions data.

Identity service

The identity service will verify that users are who they say they are, to keep personal data safe and secure. To use dashboards, users must first provide personal information. For example, this could be their name, date of birth and address. The identity provider runs checks to validate this information, and if successful, the user can then view their pensions information.

Users can provide other personal data to increase the likelihood of finding their pensions, but this data will not necessarily be validated by the identity service.

Consent and authorisation service

The consent and authorisation service manages user authentication, oversees consents and permissions, and allows users to grant access to view their pensions information through dashboards.

If a matching pension is found, the consent and authorisation service manages access to the information in line with the authorisation policies set by the user. No pensions information is stored within the dashboard itself.

Pension finder service

Once the user’s identity has been verified, the pensions finder service will now take over. This is the technology that sends a request for the user’s pensions information to all pension providers and schemes. It then returns all matching pensions information to be displayed to the user on a dashboard.

Find and view data

To make dashboards work, data must flow in and out of the central digital architecture. This can be split into two main data types, called ‘find data’ and ‘view data’.

Find data is the personal information that the user enters so a search for their pensions information can be carried out. This includes their name, date of birth, address and possibly additional personal data. The find journey begins when the user accesses the dashboard, and goes through the central digital architecture to enable the search for matching pensions information.

View data is the pensions information that is sent back to the dashboard for the user to see. This can include a pension type description, pension value (both accrued value and estimated retirement income), payable date and provider contact information.

For updates around the pensions dashboards ecosystem and the programme in general, visit the PDP website, where articles, videos and other materials are available.

Chris Curry
Chris Curry

Published: 13 February 2024

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