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 and timelines

Connection process

Important information on the connection process, timelines and resources are found in the connection hub.

Preparing for connection

Pension providers and schemes need to make sure pensions data is accurate and up to date, and a set of data matching criteria is developed. PASA data matching convention guidance is a useful resource – please look out for additions to this guidance in the coming weeks.

Pension providers and schemes will need to have confidence in their overall data quality, as well as considering, for example:

  • the level of acceptable risk for dealing with missed matches and matches with non-pension scheme members
  • resourcing for enquiries from users following possible matches
  • internal processes for the production of pension value data
  • admin and/or potential ISP contracts for supporting the connection to dashboards
  • Data Protection Impact Assessments and privacy notice updates

What ‘connection’ means

Routes to connection

There are 2 different approaches:

  • building your own connection to connect directly, using an in-house technical solution
  • contracting a third party, either through a third-party administrator or an integrated service provider (ISP)

Building a connection (to connect directly) is a complex task and will be a lengthy process. It involves significant development work to build the technical interface to the ecosystem, which will need to meet all technical standards and requirements. Thorough testing of the technical solution will also be required, as well as undertaking an IT Health Check with an accredited external provider. 

Once connected, your ecosystem will need to be able to manage high levels of traffic, with the potential for millions of find requests to process, and the ability to return data within seconds. If your organisation is considering building a connection, it is important to engage with us as early as possible via [email protected].

Where an ISP or third-party administrator undertakes the work to connect to the dashboards ecosystem, the pension provider or scheme must ensure that they have regard to connection guidance and meet requirements including dashboards standards.

For either route, trustees or managers of occupational schemes and pension providers are responsible for meeting the connection deadline obligations.

Choosing a route to connection

It is important to assess whether the right resources, skills and technology are available to build a connection. It is useful to ask your third-party administrator and/or your administrative software provider whether they intend to build a connection for you.

If you do not have the capabilities and the software currently being used would need significant investment to make it viable, then it may be more cost effective to use an ISP. Criteria for helping to choose a suitable ISP could include costs, as well as their ability to meet requirements on data security and operational readiness.

Information on connection

Our connection hub provides useful resources and information to prepare for connection to the ecosystem. Supporting materials, including what the connection journey will look like, will be made available once they are finalised. 

PDP will produce connection and testing materials to support pension providers and schemes. These will be available in advance of the first ‘connect by’ date. PDP will ensure there is sufficient lead time ahead of connection and engagement with industry for input into the development of these supporting materials.

PASA has released guidance on dashboards readiness for connection. 

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Connection timeline

Connection deadline

The requirement for pension providers and schemes within scope of the regulations to connect to the digital architecture remains mandatory with a connection deadline of 31 October 2026.

The connection deadline provides certainty and allows the time for the pensions industry, regulators and Government to work together on ensuring that pension providers and schemes can prepare for dashboards. This new approach also provides PDP with greater flexibility to work towards being ready to accept connections from schemes and providers. More information on the connection deadline can be found on the PDP website.

The ‘connect by’ date

Depending on the size and type, schemes will be expected to connect to the ecosystem by their ‘connect by’ date as stated in the DWP staged timetable guidance. 

The timetable contains different ‘connect by’ dates for 16 cohorts of large and medium schemes and providers. Cohorts for large schemes and providers run from 30 April 2025 until the end of November 2025, and from January 2026 until September 2026 for medium schemes and providers. All schemes and providers in scope must connect by 31 October 2026. 

Staggered connection maximises coverage of pension schemes and providers on pensions dashboards over a timescale that is deliverable for industry, regulators and PDP. 

Prioritising connection of the largest schemes and providers will ensure the widest coverage for consumers at the earliest opportunity.

Pension providers and schemes can find their ‘connect by’ date in DWP’s guidance on connection: the staged timetable.

Importance of the ‘connect by’ date

Where trustees or managers and pension scheme providers connect later than their ‘connect by’ date, they risk missing the connection deadline in legislation.  Connecting in a staggered manner will help smooth the process of connecting.

Schemes and providers should continue to prepare for connection by ensuring their data is accurate, up to date and fit for purpose.

Responsibility for connecting on time

Whether you decide to build or contract a third party for your connection solution, the pension provider or scheme is responsible for meeting the connection deadline obligations.

An ISP can undertake the work to connect you to the dashboards ecosystem. However, as a pension provider or scheme, you need to ensure that you have regard to connection guidance and meet requirements including dashboards standards.

Deferring to a later connection date

Although the timetable is not mandatory, trustees or managers and pension scheme providers must be able to demonstrate they have had regard to the dates in guidance. 

DWP has issued guidance on deferred connection for trustees or managers of occupational pension schemes that meet the criteria set out in regulation 17 of the 2022 Regulations that may wish to apply to defer the connection deadline of 31 October 2026.

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Raise a new query

If you can’t find what you’re looking for you can log your query, provide feedback, or raise a concern through our Jira portal. PDP will address your issue and update our support pages accordingly.

Log a query via Jira

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