The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has today issued a written ministerial statement providing an update on the timeline for connecting to pensions dashboards.

In the statement, Laura Trott, parliamentary under secretary of state for pensions, explained that the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) will be unable to meet the connection deadlines set out in legislation, and the timeline will need to be revised.

The first connection deadline is currently set for 31 August 2023. However, additional time is required to deliver the complex technical solution to enable the connection of pension providers and schemes, in accordance with the connection deadlines set out in the Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) corresponding pensions dashboard rules for pension providers, Trott explained.

“More time is needed to deliver this complex build, and for the pensions industry to help facilitate the successful connection of a wide range of different IT systems to the dashboards digital architecture,” she continued.

“Given these delays, I have initiated a reset of the Pensions Dashboards Programme in which DWP will play a full role. The new chair of the programme board will develop a new plan for delivery,” she said.

Laura Trott UK pensions minister

Laura Trott, UK’s parliamentary under secretary of state for pensions

The framework for dashboards will remain unchanged, but DWP will legislate to provide new connection deadlines. Further information on the revised timeline will be made available following agreement on PDP’s delivery plan.

Previosuly, the regulations set out two staging cohorts – large schemes (1,000+ members: 31 August 2023 – 30 September 2024), then medium schemes (100 to 999 members: 31 October 2024 – 31 October 2025). Small and micro schemes were expected to connect from 2026, but fresh regulations will be required to achieve this.

Chris Curry, PDP’s principal, said: “Delivering the central digital architecture for pensions dashboards is a complex undertaking. DWP and the Money and Pensions Service remain committed to dashboards.”

He noted that significant progress had already been made, however, more work is needed to “ensure the connection journey is stable and secure for industry, and that it’s achievable ahead of mandatory connection”.

The PDP, under the supervision of the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), is responsible for delivering the digital architecture which underpins pensions dashboards. 

Caroline Siarkiewicz, MaPS’s chief executive officer, added: Pensions dashboards will be a vital tool for pensions savers, helping them plan effectively for and in later life, so it’s essential that we take the time to get them right.”

She said that today’s DWP announcement gives MaPS the opportunity to replan the work of PDP, collaborating closely with industry partners on the way forward.

Disappointing but right decision

Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), is dissapointed about the delay, which is likely to be several months, but claims it is the right decision.

“The government is wise to prioritise doing the job well rather doing it in a rush which would result in a bad outcome for the pension industry and savers,” he said, adding that the PDP platform “is an enormous task involving a complex central architecture to be built by government”.

Steve Webb, former minister of state for pensions and partner at consultancy LCP, was equally vexed.

“This latest delay in the roll out of pensions dashboards to the public is deeply frustrating. The end goal, of a website where people can see all of their pensions in one place would be of huge value to pension savers. […] The government must ensure that any delay is kept to an absolute minimum. The lack of a firm new timetable will leave industry in limbo and this uncertainty must be resolved as soon as possible,” Webb said.

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