The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a ministerial statement confirming that the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) will not be able to meet the delivery deadlines originally set out in its legislation.
The DWP said that it will work together with the PDP to establish and legislate a revised plan for delivery, but that the overall framework for the pension dashboard remained unchanged.
Chris Curry, principal at PDP, said: “Delivering the central digital architecture for pensions dashboards is a complex undertaking. DWP and the Money and Pensions Service [MAPS] remain committed to dashboards.
“Significant progress has already been made. However, we need to do more work to ensure the connection journey is stable and secure for industry, and that it’s achievable ahead of mandatory connection.
“Industry has played a significant role in getting us to this point, whether as early participants, inputting on standards or continually feeding back on getting dashboards right. We will continue to work closely with industry to deliver dashboards that will transform retirement planning and create new opportunities for engagement with savers.”
Caroline Siarkiewicz, chief executive at the Money and Pensions Service, added: “Pensions dashboards will be a vital tool for pensions savers, helping them plan effectively for and in later life, so it’s essential that we take the time to get them right.
“Today’s announcement affords us the opportunity to replan the work of PDP, collaborating closely with industry partners on the way forward. MAPS, alongside government, remains committed to this programme, and will continue to work with industry to ensure that pensions dashboards are delivered.”
Kim Gubler, chair of the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA), said that members’ concerns over the two-year timeline, during which thousands of schemes would need to be made ready for connection, will have been allayed by the announcement.
Gubler added: “Our advice for pension schemes, providers and administrators is to continue their preparation, following the guidance and support provided by PASA and the Pensions Regulator, and to aim to be ready by their staging date as defined in current legislation; but now with the benefit of this extra contingency if it’s needed.
“95% of the work individual schemes need to do does not relate to connecting to the MAPS/PDP digital architecture and can be progressed; this work typically involves data analysis, data improvement and enrichment, and amending administration processes to calculate pension values required by dashboards.
“Since 2017, PASA has been heavily involved in supporting pension schemes, providers and administrators with this preparation work, and has already published key guidance such as on data matching conventions, with an update coming shortly. We’re also publishing new detailed guidance in the coming weeks to help schemes make decisions on the provision of pension values.”
Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), agreed that while a delay is disappointing, this was ultimately the correct decision on the part of government, to ensure effective delivery of the scheme.
Peaple said: “Pensions dashboards have the potential to help everyone in the UK far better understand pensions by enabling them to see all their pensions – state pension, workplace pensions, and private pensions – on line and in one place.
“But it is an enormous task involving a complex central architecture to be built by government, the connection of tens of thousands of pension schemes, and the identification of millions of people.
“We welcome the government’s promise to ensure that, once the current issues with the central digital architecture are resolved, the industry will be given adequate time and technical information to play its part in this endeavour.
“Today’s announcement that the project will be delayed, apparently by several months, is disappointing but it is the right decision. The government is wise to prioritise doing the job well rather doing it in a rush which would result in a bad outcome for the pension industry and savers.”