31 January 2022
Documents published today by the DWP and the Pensions Dashboards Programme set out proposed legal deadlines by which pension schemes will have to supply data to pensions dashboards and provide more detail on what will have to be provided. These suggest that public access to a dashboard is still several years away.
Key points from the analysis include:
- On ‘staging’, whilst Master Trusts will have to be ready to supply data by 30 June 2023, public service pension schemes will have until 30 April 2024; as public service schemes account for 20% of all active and deferred pension rights, it is hard to see how a dashboard could go live until such rights are included; on that basis, a publicly available dashboard is unlikely for well over two years; furthermore, the document hints (para 75) at the potential for further delays as public service schemes wrestle with the fallout from the ‘McCloud’ judgment on age discrimination:
“However, recent engagement across government has further highlighted the scale of the challenge surrounding the implementation of the McCloud remedy.”
and this could lead to further delays in the dashboard going live.
- On data being supplied to the dashboard, Defined Benefit pension schemes will have to provide not only an estimated pension at retirement, but also a *current* value. Many schemes do not routinely calculate this information, but it is proposed that they will have only 10 days to provide it. Whilst this will be straightforward for the largest schemes with full digital data, many schemes use manual or semi-manual processes and will struggle to meet this deadline.
- The dashboard will not provide information on the charges which members are paying, but schemes will have to ‘signpost’ members to where they can find this information.
The vision of a pensions dashboard has been hit by repeated delays. In the 2016 Budget, the Government promised the first dashboard would go live in 2019:
Whereas general public access is now unlikely until mid 2024 at the very earliest.
Commenting, Steve Webb, partner at LCP said: “Bringing together full pension data in one place is a mammoth task and Ministers have repeatedly over-promised and under-delivered on this goal. Back in 2016 there was a promise of a dashboard in use by 2019, but now it looks as though the first generally accessible dashboard will not be available until mid 2024 – at least five years late. The biggest headaches include bringing on the public service schemes, which have major headaches of their own to deal with, and Defined Benefit pension schemes where complex new calculations may be required. It is vital that the government ensures there is no further slippage in this project and that the benefits of dashboards are available to the public as soon as possible”.
The pensions dashboard draft regulations can be found at: Pensions dashboards: consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 (publishing.service.gov.uk)