Updated: Govt gives dashboard go ahead; schemes given '3 to 4 year window' for delivery

The government has given the go ahead for the pensions dashboard, with the expectation that pension schemes can complete delivery within a three to four year window, it has revealed.

In its consultation response published today, 4 April, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, said that the government will facilitate the delivery of the dashboard as a "key priority" and hopes to see an industry dashboard developed and tested this year.

As a result, the government added that it will be legislating "at the earliest opportunity" to compel providers to provide consumers' data. A move that could potentially be held up by Brexit.

In a written statement, Rudd said: "Government remains committed to ensuring the individual is in control of their data and is conscious of the need for pace in order to deliver dashboards. Our priority is to ensure that information is presented securely, in a clear and simple format to support consumers with their retirement planning."

The government has also confirmed that state pension data will be included "as soon as possible", at a cost to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Despite this, in an effort to limit costs, the DWP said schemes will only be required to give "basic information" at the outset, but did not confirm whether consumers will face costs for using the platform.

It stated: "Several respondents suggested that dashboard providers may wish to charge for premium or additional services. We are clear that consumers should not have to pay to access their own basic information; however, we are not against business models which charge for services beyond this."

Schemes will be compelled by a "staged timeline" to ensure strong member coverage, with the anticipation that large defined contribution schemes will be the first on board their members.

From that outset, DWP intends for users to "find and view" their pension pots, before reviewing initial functionality to take further steps on more complex developments.

It aims to set up a delivery group, made up of key industry stakeholders and accountable to the Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB) by the end of the summer, which will help facilitate its improvements.

The industry has been urged to deliver data on a "voluntary basis" to help inform delivery.

The government also reiterated its intention to enable multiple dashboards, supported by the same digital architecture, with the "same basic information from the same number of schemes".

"The priorities for the delivery group in 2019 are to create a clear strategy for delivering the digital architecture, design a robust governance and security framework and to work with industry on their readiness to provide data via dashboards," Rudd added.

"Pensions dashboards can be an enabler for a real step-change across the sector to modernise the way it communicates with its members. They also provide an opportunity to build trust with consumers, ensuring they can access their pensions information in a convenient way."

Yesterday, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said that the pensions dashboard would be one of three "key parts" of the upcoming pensions bill, alongside Collective Defined Contribution schemes and legislation recommended in the Defined Benefit With Paper.

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