The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirm that the Pensions Dashboards Programme is unlikely to meet its original delivery deadlines.
In a minister statement, the new pensions minister Laura Trott said the DWP had initiated a reset of the dashboards programme. A new chair of the board will develop a fresh plan for delivery.
Pension schemes were due to start connecting to dashboards from 31 August 2023. The so-called ‘Dashboard Available Point’ – the day when dashboards are to be available to the public – was expected to be late next year.
The announcement has been met with dismay from the industry. LCP partner Steve Webb, said: “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.
“It will help people to find pension pots they have lost track of, and will enable them to rationalise and make best use of the pots that they do have. 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”.
AJ Bell head of policy development Rachel Vahey said: “The DWP has torn up the plans for pensions dashboards and has decided to start again. After years of work across the industry and multiple government bodies, this a staggering development and means dashboards are now at risk of being mothballed until the next Parliament, and may never become a reality at all.
“For the industry this is frustrating, with countless hours of careful work put into developing dashboards. More importantly, this a huge let down for consumers. Dashboards had the potential to empower pension savers but they’ve been badly let down by a project that has over-promised and under-delivered.”
Aegon head of pensions Kate Smith added: “The pension industry has been working hard to meet the legislative staging dates, with the largest schemes and providers due to start onboarding in a matter of months. We’ve been aware since the beginning of the year that there was ‘trouble at the mill’ but are surprised that the DWP is taking such a radical step by announcing a reset.
“We are disappointed about the reset which in reality likely means an implementation delay, but we recognise that it’s really important that everything is in place before schemes connect to the dashboard ecosystem and definitely before the public accesses dashboards.
“There’s a strong possibility that the dashboard scheme onboarding phased timeline could be moved back into next year, giving the pension dashboard programme more time to prepare for this incredibly complex programme. This will also give schemes more time to prepare, but it’s important that they carry on with their plans in the meantime rather than throwing them up in the air. The government needs to urgently confirm what this means for schemes and pension providers in practice as there are many other changes happening concurrently.
“Ultimately we believe that pension dashboards have the potential to be a gamechanger, not only connecting people with their pensions but also increasing engagement and improved financial wellbeing. However, this reset means that the public may have to wait until 2025 or beyond to access dashboards to see all their pension online and in one place.”