Richard James Published by: Richard James  

In April 2021, the UK was emerging from a long lockdown with pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and non-essential shops opening up again. It feels like a long time ago, even though it’s only twelve months.  At the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) I took up the role of Programme Director.

I knew we would be doing something really important. Creating a service that provides individuals with access to information about their pensions securely, online and all in one place will make a real difference, empowering individuals to take control of their retirement savings.

This feeling has intensified over the past year, when I’ve witnessed the results of our user-research. We know that dashboards lead users to think about pensions in a new way, and to start questioning what they need to have a comfortable retirement.

Moving at pace

For me, the past year has flown by – in part, this is testament to the pace at which the programme operates. We’ve moved on enormously since I arrived. In April 2021, we were about to start our procurement for the supplier of our central digital architecture. Now, we’re working with Capgemini and Origo, dashboards have left the drawing board and are taking shape in the physical world, with our build well-advanced. We’ve also appointed Digidentity to provide our identity service. They are working with our architecture suppliers to integrate the identity service with the wider build.

We’re working in a fast-moving environment, which requires us to be comfortable with change, but one constant is the passion and dedication shown by the people I’m lucky enough to work with. The programme team has never failed to impress me with their commitment and hard work. We’ve got a series of tough deadlines to meet and they reach every one.

In fact, the programme remains on track against the indicative phase plan from 2020 and the timetable subsequently set out in 2021 – no small achievement for a programme of this scale. And our level of confidence in the architectural build is increasing all the time. We are on track with the development, and expect to have the first users within dashboards later this year.

We’re currently working with the organisations – both data and dashboard providers – that have volunteered to work with us during these early build and test phases of the programme. We owe them a huge debt, as it is with their support that we can fully test the technology.

Their own work is coming along well, and we have established close connections with them that will allow us to move into integration and test with them over the coming months – thereby proving the technology end to end.

As we complete that work later this year, we will accelerate our work to prepare for staged onboarding. During that time, we will work with our first consumers to continue improving dashboards themselves, while making sure that our support arrangements and onboarding processes are ready to support the rest of industry as we move into compulsory onboarding.

We’re only twelve months away from the largest schemes starting to onboard. PLSA has published this useful checklist, for schemes to tick off. I’d also recommend keeping an eye on our data providers hub and the steps to connection.

Time isn’t slowing down and neither are we. Given how far we’ve come in the past year, I have no doubt that the programme will have moved on significantly in another twelve months. We will be ready. Will you?