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Research and insight

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Our research and insight underpins decision making across the programme. Our research and analysis plan helps us to understand:

  • what works in increasing engagement with pensions via dashboards
  • the size and nature of the population who will be using dashboards
  • the landscape of pension providers and schemes and pension entitlements
  • the issue that may be faced by pension providers and schemes in providing data to be viewed on dashboards
  • the motivations, attitudes and behaviours of users around engaging with pensions via dashboards
  • the existing assumptions around user needs for dashboards

We also carry out a programme of user-research, which informs our understanding of user needs and will feed into the service design, which we report in our dashboard providers section.

Analysing the existing evidence base

In June 2021, we published a rapid evidence assessment (REA) of the existing domestic and international literature on what has worked in increasing people’s engagement with pensions via digital dashboards, carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team. The key findings from the REA were:

  • the research in this area is in its early stages with many gaps
  • there is lots of evidence on the barriers to engaging with pensions and how to increase engagement with pensions, some of which can be directly applied to dashboards
  • there is some evidence on how to display information on dashboards and digital interfaces to increase understanding
  • there is limited evidence on what user needs and user behaviours are and what information and functionality individuals need to see to increase their engagement

Following on from this research, we commissioned further work via Ipsos MORI, who we appointed in January 2021 to help fill priority evidence gaps for the programme.

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Qualitative research

In August 2021 we published a summary report of the findings of the first phase of our qualitative research. Phase one fieldwork 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 high-level needs and tolerances for an initially incomplete service
The key findings from the research showed that, broadly speaking, the pensions dashboards concept was received well and viewed as a big improvement on the current situation, confirming the findings from previous studies. The pandemic has changed some attitudes and behaviours, particularly bringing many more people into regular digital service usage. And the research found that pensions dashboards have the power to help increase pensions engagement among different groups of people.
We will publish a final report, following the completion of the second phase of fieldwork in the autumn that brings together the findings from both phases of the research. The aims of the second phase of the research are to:
  • explore the appeal of the pensions dashboards concept for a range of potential dashboard users (including self-employed and joint decision makers), specifically the appeal of a find first service vs a find and view service
  • identify potential usage purposes and occasions as well as provider and platform preferences
  • identify information expectations and priorities
  • investigate potential dashboard users’ tolerances to the prospect of a phased launch (specifically in relation to the potential staged onboarding of pensions providers as well as the potential staggered return of pensions information)

Secondary analysis

Ipsos MORI have started work to quantify the size and nature of the population who will be using dashboards. This work is analysing two waves of the Wealth and Assets Survey, to explore the nature of the prospective population for dashboards to build our understanding of:

  • how many individuals have pension entitlements,
  • the characteristics of individuals with different types of entitlements etc

What’s next?

We will use the findings from the qualitative research to feed into policy development of the draft regulations that will be consulted upon over the winter by the DWP.

We will continue to expand our evidence base, building on our earlier work, to ensure that our programme decisions have a firm foundation and that we are responsive to the needs of industry and our stakeholders.
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