• Pension schemes could be given just 90 days to prepare for Dashboards being available to the general public under plans outlined by the Government today (Pensions dashboards: further consultation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))
• Providers including investment platforms will begin providing data to a central Dashboard next year
• This will allow for testing of the ecosystem – including IT and data matching – before Dashboards are made available to the wider public
• Government urged to give at least 180 days’ notice before Dashboards ‘live’ date so providers have time to scale-up support and training
Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, comments:
“Pensions Dashboards have been years in the making, with vast amounts of planning, testing and resource required to ensure millions of savers can see all their retirement pots in one place online.
“This has been necessary so that, when Dashboards eventually go ‘live’ to the wider public, member data is safe from scammers and the crucial IT systems needed to facilitate the reforms are ready for the anticipated demand from members.
“This is absolutely vital because if the first time someone tries to use a Dashboard it crashes, doesn’t show the information expected or, perhaps worst of all, their valuable information falls into the lap of a scammer, trust will be fundamentally – and perhaps fatally – undermined.
“Once the Government and regulators are satisfied that Dashboards have been tested to destruction, the Department for Work and Pensions has proposed giving schemes just 90 days to scale-up resources before they are opened up to the public.”
Defeat from the jaws of victory
“While it is understandable officials are keen to move as quickly as possible, rushing this final phase risks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. All providers will need time to recruit and train staff to deal with a potential surge in Dashboards questions, and 90 days is an extremely tight timescale to achieve that in.
“This would be a massive risk to the project and could result in people failing to get the support they need when they first engage with Dashboards. If people have a bad experience or read about others having bad experiences, they might never use Dashboards again.
“A longer lead-in time of at least 180 days should give schemes time to do the necessary preparations for a successful public launch.”