Guest Comment: Understanding ‘dashboards available point’

In previous articles, I’ve provided clarity on what pensions dashboards will do and how they will work, and what industry needs to do to get ready, particularly around data.

We recognise that it is a mammoth task for industry on delivering dashboards. But there is a real recognition of the benefits: enabling people to view all their pensions information together in one place.

This time I wanted to clear up what ‘dashboards available point’ is, and how that is different from connection.

Dashboards available point is when dashboards will be publicly accessible

Dashboards available point (DAP) is a term that you have probably come across in articles, online, at talks or during webinars.

Put simply, this is when any member of the public will be able to access and use a dashboard to search for and view their pensions information. At a minimum, a dashboard provided by the Money and Pensions Service will be available to use, but there may also be other commercial dashboards which people can choose to view their pensions information from.

DAP is important for pension providers and schemes, but it is also a key date for potential dashboard providers.

Prior to DAP, dashboard providers will be able to work on technical building and testing. But they will need to go through a process of authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) before they can invite public users after DAP.

DAP and connection are not the same thing

Connection is not something that should be confused with DAP. When we talk about connecting, what we are referring to is the process that pension providers and schemes need to go through to join the dashboards ecosystem.

Government regulations and FCA rules require most pension providers and schemes will need to prepare for connection, and be ready to comply with their duties and obligations, including those set out in dashboard standards.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has set out a timeline for this. When each provider or scheme needs to have completed their connection depends on their size and type.

As such, getting industry ‘ready’ is about ensuring that you are in a position to connect to the central digital architecture, the group of elements that will make dashboards work.

This is essential for DAP, to enable a user to search for their pensions by inputting a ‘find request’ that will be sent to pension providers and schemes, and for ‘view data’ to be returned for the user. Nonetheless, it is important to recognise that DAP and connection are two distinct things.

DAP is not happening imminently

DAP will take place after most pension providers and schemes are connected to the central digital architecture. Connection will be a staged process so that focus can be given to the largest schemes to begin with.

The reason for connection taking place so far in advance of DAP is both to ensure that pension providers and schemes can undertake user testing and that they have the right level of support.

It’s important to bear in mind that while there is still some way to go to DAP, it is a date that we need to be prepared for.

There is a process for when DAP will happen

The government will decide what is the best date for dashboards to become publicly available. There are four areas that have been outlined that will be considered before that decision is made.

The first is that dashboards should enable most users to access information on all of their pensions. On top of this, dashboards must work effectively. The central digital architecture needs to have been rigorously tested and able to support a large number of users.

The third area is that people using dashboards must be confident that the service is safe and secure. Finally, there must be a consistent and positive experience for users on all dashboards that will be available at DAP, regardless of who the provider is.

Once the government is satisfied that these different areas have been met, industry will be given a minimum of six months’ notice for DAP. DWP has also confirmed that it expects to publish its progress on decision-making towards DAP, giving industry a better indication of when the date is likely to be.

PDP’s website has more information for pension providers and schemes, and dashboard providers about preparing for dashboards.

At the same time, we approach the delivery of dashboards in a truly collaborative spirit. If you have specific queries or would like to speak to someone who can help, get in touch with PDP.

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