Progress update report
Pensions dashboards will help individuals view their pensions information online, securely and all in one place, thereby supporting better planning for retirement and growing financial wellbeing.
Why pensions dashboards are needed
Pensions dashboards goals
The Government is committed to delivering pensions dashboards that will allow individuals to view their pensions information, including the State Pension, together in one online secure place. The goal is to help people clearly understand and be better engaged with their retirement savings. Dashboards will also support the pensions advice and guidance process, providing people easier access to their pensions information when and where they want.
Lack of pensions engagement
It is important that workers across the UK are aware of how much they saved in their pension. Recent analysis commissioned by PDP of Wealth and Assets survey data shows that since 2014, almost 6 million more people in Great Britain have a private pension. Despite automatic enrolment, however, around 12 million people are estimated to be under-saving for later life.
Evidence from many sources make it clear that people are not engaged with their pensions. PDP carried out research in 2022 which found engagement with pension arrangements was low among UK adults aged 18 to 75. The majority (55%) had undertaken no pension engagement activities at all over the previous year. Similarly, ABI research from 2021 found most respondents agreeing that “it can be challenging to access your pension information”.
Building on a wealth of existing evidence around barriers to engagement, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has identified problems of understanding and motivation to proactively seek information on their retirement savings. DWP research from January 2023 on engagement with workplace pensions highlighted people feeling a lack of ownership of their pensions and concern about making decisions that could lead to financial loss.
The benefits of dashboards
Consumers will find it easier to plan for retirement and make more informed decisions with a comprehensive overview of their pensions savings. As part of the ABI’s 2021 research, 56% of people stated that it would be helpful to have all the information on their pension pots in one place. Similarly, PDP has found that estimated retirement income is the most important information that consumers want to see about their pension.
Dashboards will also provide details of pension pots that have been forgotten about, or where a person has lost touch with their pension provider or scheme because they have moved home, for example. The Pensions Policy Institute estimates that 2.8 million pots are not currently matched to their owner, with a total value of £26.6 billion.
At the same time, dashboards present a real benefit to industry. Pension providers and schemes will have opportunities to engage with customers and members who have a better understanding of their retirement savings, supported by pensions dashboards.
Since the April 2023 progress update report, PDP has been focusing on producing a new programme plan as part of its reset activity. This is to ensure the programme is able to facilitate pension providers and schemes completing connection by 31 October 2026. The refreshed plan will include prioritising work on preparing for connection, with resourcing dedicated to achieving this goal. The approach is also designed to provide adequate time to take into account the different needs of those providers and schemes who are building their own route to connection versus those who are buying a third-party connection solution.
Legislation empowers PDP to set standards that will provide the rules and controls facilitating ongoing connection to the dashboards ecosystem. Data standards explain how pensions data that will be returned on a dashboard must be formatted by pension providers and schemes. How pension providers and dashboard providers interact with the central digital architecture and each other is set out in the technical standards.
Design standards cover how dashboards will look and how data will be presented on a dashboard. The data that pension providers and dashboard providers will need to report back to regulators, PDP and DWP are described in reporting standards.
A code of connection will also incorporate important standards. Operational standards are what pension providers and schemes, and dashboard providers, will need to follow in order to connect to, and stay connected to, the ecosystem. Minimum service requirements and behaviours to deliver a high-quality user experience are covered in service standards. Finally, security standards set out the requirements that pension providers and dashboard providers will need to meet to deliver a secure service.
In 2022 and 2023, PDP held consultations on dashboard standards and draft versions of the documents were published in late 2022. Further engagement on standards will take place over winter 2023/24 on refinements ahead of final publication and approval by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. It is intended that data standards will be made available ahead of other standards, timed to coincide with publication of guidance on the staged connection timetable.
PDP will be producing further guidance for organisations seeking to provide a dashboard. This will include additional information about the route to become a pensions dashboard service, including the process for connecting to the dashboards ecosystem.
The design standards being produced by PDP will provide minimum requirements for the appearance of dashboards. On top of this, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) conducted a consultation on its proposed regulatory framework for dashboard providers. This framework will include rules which will govern the information that users will be presented with on dashboards and other post-view services that a user may be able to access in addition to viewing their pensions savings. The FCA will be providing further information on the outcome of the consultation at a later date. HM Treasury will enable the FCA to publish rules by making an amendment to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001 to include pensions dashboards.
As mentioned above, we set up a regular dashboards forum for those organisations interested in developing and hosting their own dashboard.
User testing will be carried out to inform the ongoing design and development of the pensions dashboards service. An important aspect will be the user’s experience, ensuring that it is positive, effective and stable. It will include testing and validating the end-to-end user journey, and making sure that dashboard services meet users’ needs, particularly around accessibility.
User research and testing already plays a part in the development and design of the service. It includes user research carried out by the MoneyHelper dashboard team, for example, to inform their initial design and build. However, once connection begins, PDP will then be able to commence the all-important testing of the live service with real data. This will begin with very small volumes initially and gradually increase in the run-up to dashboards being publicly available.
Testing with real data will help provide assurance that dashboards standards are fit for purpose, and will inform future updates. It will also inform the Secretary of State’s decision-making around whether criteria for the dashboards available point (DAP), such as having a positive user experience, sufficient coverage and that the system works effectively, have been met.
PDP will establish a user testing and planning group that will launch in early 2024 to work with industry to develop and coordinate plans for user testing. This will include defining testing requirements and the activities involved, how a range of users will be invited to test the service in a controlled environment, the volumes of users, the notice period ahead of testing, and how insights from testing will be gathered and reported on. This will also support industry with operational planning ahead of DAP.
To ensure transparency for industry and other interested parties, PDP is committed to regularly sharing updates and insights from user testing. Further information will be provided on what this will look like closer to the first connection date in guidance on the staged timetable for connection.
Following engagement with industry, in June 2023, DWP published The Pensions Dashboards (Amendment) Regulations 2023, which have been approved by Parliament and have now come into force. The Regulations replace the staging profiles previously set out in legislation and set out the deadline for completing connection of 31 October 2026.
The new approach will see connection dates set out in guidance, and DWP has been working with PDP, regulators and industry on laying the groundwork for a connection timetable. In the autumn, we will begin engagement on the proposed staged connection timetable to be set out in in guidance.
In July, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revised its pension dashboard rules for FCA regulated pension providers to align with the new deadline of 31 October 2026 in the Government’s Pensions Dashboards (Amendment) Regulations 2023. All firms in scope of the FCA rules must have regard to the staging dates that will be set out in the guidance that DWP has been working on with PDP, regulators and industry.
On 10 October 2023 The Pensions Regulator (TPR) launched a campaign to drive action around data preparation. The campaign is targeted at trustees and administrators, and will run until the end of November. The campaign aims to awaken a sense of duty to prepare for dashboards on behalf of their savers and encourages forward planning and collaborative working between trustees and administrators, highlighting TPR’s checklist as a valuable tool to improve the effectiveness of teams carrying out the tasks.
TPR continues to support trustees and administrators through a comprehensive engagement programme and is also working closely with DWP, PDP and FCA on the development of the staging guidance, including through the provision of modelling.
Key messages for trustees and scheme managers:
- preparing for dashboards will take time – there is a significant amount of work you need to do
- work with those who are supporting you to develop a practical delivery plan – understand what you’ll need to do, when, and where to go for help and support
- use TPR’s checklist to keep track of your progress, and make sure that you maintain records of key decisions made
- get to grips with the data that’s needed for dashboards – accurate data is at the heart of dashboards but it also has significant benefits beyond.