12 June 2023 was a day of procrastination for the new Pensions Dashboard Programme, with a new deadline set for 2026.
“[The Treasury] should challenge the industry to make a pensions dashboard available to consumers by 2019, bringing together industry and consumer representatives to help them set direction and drive progress.” So said the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority in 2016, in the wake of the introduction of pensions flexibility and the replacement of the old state pension scheme the single tier new state pension.
The logic of the proposal was indisputable. Together, the reform of both state and private sector retirement provision, the 2012 launch of automatic enrolment for workplace pensions and changing employment patterns had created a need for a pensions dashboard. In theory, one central information dashboard would give individuals the opportunity to keep track of their various pension entitlements and understand what income they might receive when work ended.
However, government theory and government practice, especially when large IT projects are involved, rarely have much in common with each other. It was not until that 2019 date that the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) was established by an arm of the Department for Work and Pensions. The PDP was charged with responsibility for “designing and creating the pensions dashboards ecosystem, which contains the digital architecture that will make dashboards work.”
The PDP has since presided over a series of delays. At the beginning of 2023, 31 August 2023 was meant to mark the first “connection deadline” for pension schemes to link to the dashboard. However, in March, a parliamentary statement revealed the target would not be met but gave no new date. Three months later, another parliamentary statement supplied the missing information – 31 October 2026.
With no apparent sense of irony, the statement said that “the government remains as committed as ever to making pensions dashboards a reality and we are ambitious about their delivery.” On the same day, the government also announced a delay to the deadline for filling gaps in national insurance contributions, although ironically that will still end 18 months before the dashboard deadline.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax or benefit advice.