Pensions Dashboards Programme shifts to real data testing

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) has confirmed that early participants are expected to transition into the live pensions dashboards environment, using real data, in early 2023.

The PDP's latest Progress Update Report revealed that the technology for the dashboards ecosystem was successfully completed during the second half of October, and is now ready for testing with real data.

The first data to be used will be state pension data provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, according to the update, while the first dashboard will be the MoneyHelper dashboard being built by the Money and Pensions Service (Maps).

PDP clarified that it is "initially working at a steady pace with these organisations to ensure a safe and controlled entry into the live environment", confirming that it will begin working with early participants on testing and progressing through the steps of the connection journey once a "secure and stable" process has been achieved.

Early participants are therefore expected to transition into the live environment, using real data, in early 2023.

There are still details to be confirmed, however, with the PDP on track to launch a consultation on the draft design standards this winter, before sharing an updated version of design standards in 2023.

In addition to this, PDP confirmed that it is currently reviewing the responses to its recent standards document consultation, confirming that it received a "strong response rate", with changes being made as a result of the industry feedback.

The updated draft versions of these documents will also be published in the winter, outlining where changes have been made, although PDP confirmed that the standards will need the approval of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

More broadly, the PDP confirmed plans to provide an update on consumer protection to clearly explain the extent the of obligations of pension providers and schemes, and dashboards providers.

This is expected to outline how consumers are being protected through the distributed regulatory framework, highlighting which regulator is responsible for ensuring compliance in relation to organisations’ interactions with dashboards.

In addition to this, PDP said that it will be devoting particular attention to raising awareness of the timeline and dashboards duties that they will need to meet as pension providers and schemes approach their compulsory connection windows.

In early 2023, a connection hub is also expected to be made available on the PDP website where schemes and providers will find a range of supporting content to help them commence the connection process.

Commenting in the foreword of the report, Pensions Dashboards Programme principal, Chris Curry, stated: “Users remain at the heart of our vision and what we are trying to achieve, pensions dashboards will transform people’s ability to understand their pension savings and to plan for their retirement.

"As well as allowing users to view all their pensions together in a single, secure place, dashboards will also connect people to pension pots that they may have ‘lost’.

“Dashboards will also open new opportunities for pension providers and schemes to engage their customers and members in a dialogue about their retirement savings.

"Crucially, this will supplement existing ways of communicating – ensuring that those without digital access are not excluded.

“I remain grateful to those across government, industry, the regulators and others who continue to work together in a spirit of co-operation to make pensions dashboards a success.”

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