open navigation close navigation Menu
Turning The Pensions Dashboards Delay To Your Advantage

Turning The Pensions Dashboards Delay To Your Advantage

Monday, 18 December 2023

With a little more time before pension schemes need to connect to dashboards, we explore the actions you can take, to get ready.

Under the Pensions Dashboards (Amendment) Regulations 2023, the Government set out updated regulations to delay the timescale within which schemes will have to connect to dashboards. The regulations require schemes to connect no later than 31 October 2026, but also require them to have regard to guidance on connection issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). For practical purposes, the Government's intention is that the guidance will determine the staging timetable – no such timetable has yet been published.

Don’t take your foot off the pedal – what about user experience?

The delay is an opportunity to make the dashboard experience better for pension savers and for trustees to fulfil their responsibilities, giving them breathing space to think about some of the areas they may not yet have considered. Now is the time to take a step back and look at what savers will see on dashboards and contemplate whether this will make sense to them, is the user experience clear and straightforward? How could this be improved and optimised? Take the time to look at it through fresh eyes, to be empathetic of the user and think about ways of enhancing saver engagement. Understanding the end-to-end saver experience is a key step in designing the right digital journey for your members.

TPR is encouraging trustees and administrators to work together and make the most of this extra time. Its amended guidance explains when your scheme needs to connect with dashboards and how you can stay up to date with developments. TPR has also reminded trustees to keep clear audit trails to demonstrate all decisions made and the reasons for them, in addition to any actions taken. 

Time to focus on data quality challenges

The TPR dashboards readiness tracker indicates that many schemes’ data quality isn’t where it should be, with only 42% of respondents holding all their members’ personal and contact data digitally.

Deferred members, historical data gaps, members not updating their details and the quality of data from employers, are commonly cited as issues affecting data accuracy. In addition, members who have been through a divorce or left a company and then returned to it may have slightly more complicated data requirements.

The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) has taken steps and issued Dashboards Values Guidance which is designed to provide good practice approaches to a number of issues not addressed in the legislation or official guidance.

What about Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)?

The Government expects AVC data will be made available to dashboards by the administrators of the AVC (this could be a commercial AVC provider). The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) Data Standards allow a pension provider to send its main pension provider benefits, with the AVC provider sending separate AVC data. However, trustees remain legally accountable for ensuring that this happens and will need to work with their AVC provider accordingly. 

Complications for international companies

Savers may hold benefits in different currencies, or they may have been seconded to the UK and not have National Insurance numbers, but still have accrued pension savings in the UK that must be

displayed on dashboards. Preparing by working through such scenarios with administrators now will enhance understanding and allow the opportunity to design dashboard solutions that ensure saver information is presented properly.

Will the connection to the ecosystem work and what about consumer protection?

For most schemes, the focus has rightly been to get their data in order before connecting to the dashboards. Trustees and administrators should use this extra time to make sure the connection to the ecosystem works efficiently.

With consumer protection fundamental to the success of dashboards, data protection and cyber security preparation require thought too. Although the PDP is responsible for providing the central digital architecture, they have also established security standards defining how users’ data may be securely shared and displayed within the ecosystem to ensure compliance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).

Communication is key

With the focus on technical matters, now is the right time to think about how to get the message out about dashboards by planning your communications campaign. It’s likely that schemes are receiving similar questions and enquiries, you could anticipate the questions members will ask and provide some standard FAQ answers. In addition to saving time, this approach gives savers clear and consistent messaging and instils confidence.

Get prepared with the support of an expert partner

With the right support and knowledge, preparation doesn’t need to feel overwhelming or onerous, we can break it down step by step. EQ believes the best approach to becoming dashboard ready is to engage collaboratively now to meet the requirements in good time.

EQ are pension data experts who have been providing support services to pension scheme administrators, members, managers and trustees for over 187 years. We are used to providing data solutions on sensitive and highly complex projects, and with technology at our core, our pension platforms and ISP can support clients with all their pension administration needs. So, if you need any help with pensions dashboards, data or any other aspect of pensions administration then please get in touch.

Find out more about how EQ Retirement Solutions is transforming the retirement and pensions markets with leading administration and technology solutions.

Retirement Solutions