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John Dale

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now published guidance setting out a staged timetable for connection to the Pensions Dashboards. The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) are back on track and the countdown to connection has begun!

Guidance has been produced to smooth out the process of connecting around 3,000 schemes and data providers to the PDP Central Digital Architecture by the connection deadline of 31 October 2026.

You can find the full written statement here.

What happened to the old staging profiles?

Staging profiles were removed from legislation when The Pensions Dashboards (Amendment) Regulations 2023 came into force on 9 August 2023. The amendment regulations put in place a single connection deadline of 31 October 2026 and moved connection dates to guidance.

The timetable for connection is similar to the original staging profile:

  • One connection date in each month
  • Data providers are generally ordered from largest to smallest
  • Two separate connection dates for data providers regulated by the FCA

There are some changes however:

  • The timeline has been compressed from 27 months to 18 months
  • Staging breaks have been removed
  • A one-month buffer has been introduced from 1 to 31 October 2026

Can I wait to until 31 October 2026 to connect?

The PDP and Integrated Service Providers (ISPs) cannot connect all 3,000 schemes and data providers to the Central Digital Architecture on 31 October 2026. Connections need to be spread out throughout the 18-month connection window in line with the connection guidance.

There is still a legal duty for Pension providers and schemes to demonstrate they have had regard to the guidance when making decisions about when they will connect. They will be advised to connect to dashboards according to the timeline. Doing so will help to manage the volume of connections, ensure all providers and schemes in scope can be connected by the deadline, and allow for dashboards to become publicly available as early as possible.

You should ensure you connect in line or earlier than your expected connection date to avoid any potential capacity crunch and the risk of a non-compliance fine of up to £50,000 from the regulator.

If you haven't started, it's time to start preparing!

If you haven’t started preparing for connection, you should do so immediately. Connection guidance has been provided by The Pensions Regulator (TPR), PASA and other industry stakeholders.

The first place to start is TPR's checklist. TPR is encouraging schemes to use the checklist to see which actions they should already be working on. It’s been split into four sections:

Data tasks to match people with their pensions

  • Understand what personal data you will receive from the digital architecture to help you match members to their pensions
  • Assess the quality and digital accessibility of personal data in your records
  • Consider which data items you will use to confirm matches are made or that there are possible matches
  • Where your member personal data needs improving, put plans in place to deliver the improvements

Data tasks to provide information to members 
  • Understand what data you will need to return to members and by when
  • Assess the quality and digital accessibility of the data that will be provided to your members
  • Consider how you will calculate the value data so that it is provided in line with dashboard requirements – calculated in line with ASTM1 or scheme rules, and sufficiently recent
  • Where value data is not in line with dashboard requirements, put plans in place to ensure you can meet your dashboard duties

General tasks

  • Establish pensions dashboards as a regular agenda item at board meetings
  • Discuss pensions dashboards with your administrator and other relevant parties (such as software provider, actuary, legal adviser, employer, additional voluntary contribution provider) to develop and agree practical delivery plan according to your scheme-specific situation
  • Explore your route to connection – either building own interface or using a (new or existing) third-party solution
  • If required, appoint new suppliers or revise contracts for existing suppliers
Ongoing actions

    • Stay up to date with developments to the regulations, Money and Pensions Service standards and our guidance
    • Check that your team and suppliers are on track to deliver
    • Record key decisions and progress as per your existing governance processes
    • Review and update your Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) in line with your data improvement plan

Heywood can help you get started

Here's what you can do now:
  • Prioritise data accuracy - Ensure your member and value data is complete, consistent, and up to date, and create your plan to keep data accurate on an ongoing basis. Once connected to dashboard, you are always connected 24/7

    We can help you get started. We’ve helped 68 pension schemes review their data already. Get started with our free dashboards readiness reports.

  • Decide how you’re going to connect to pensions dashboards  You’ll need an ISP that will give you the confidence that once you’re connected, you stay connected.

    Read about what it means to couple with a good ISP and how it can help pension schemes get in shape to safely arrive, prepared, for pensions dashboards.

  • Speak to the experts – Still not sure about your next steps? Our experts are here to help guide you on your pensions dashboards journey and deliver anything you need, in one place.

We can help you through all stages of dashboard connection readiness. Connect to pensions dashboards with Heywood's secure and compliant ISP, making dashboards connectivity simple.

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