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Heywood Pension Tech


Pensions dashboards are coming. To help you prepare, we answer the most frequently asked dashboards-related questions.

To help pension fund managers and administrators, and those involved in the process of connecting their pension scheme to the Pensions Dashboards ecosystem, we’ve put together the most commonly asked questions on dashboards including when will pensions dashboards go live? how will pensions dashboards work? and much more.

Answered in this article, the most common pensions dashboards related questions:

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What are pensions dashboards?

Pensions dashboards are online portals that will enable individual pension holders to securely access and view all their separate pensions information – all in one place. Information viewable will include both private, workplace and state pensions.

Why are pensions dashboards being introduced?

Pensions dashboards are being introduced to increase engagement and improve the user experience between pensions schemes and members.

Individuals will be able to view all their pensions information in one place, increasing accessibility and re-connecting people with lost pensions pots. Having this information in an accessible place will enable individuals to help better prepare and plan financially for their retirement.

Who is responsible for delivering pensions dashboards?

The PDP (Pensions Dashboards Programme) is being delivered by the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) working closely with the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions), industry and regulators to make dashboards a success.

Heywood has been a member of the software provider's working group since 2020 and have been able to supply feedback and influence data standards, definitions and what key data items should be used to match members to their schemes. 

Following the start-up stage, Heywood was announced as an alpha participant in the Pensions Dashboards Programme’s test phase, and we are working closely with the programme to bring our solutions to life. 

Who needs to connect to pensions dashboards?

UK pensions providers are compelled by legislation (the Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022) to connect to pensions dashboards by their staging date deadline.

That said, schemes with less than 100 members are currently out of scope.

What is Dashboards Availability Point (DAP)?

The Dashboards Available Point is a crucial date in the UK's Pensions Dashboards Programme, marking the moment when pensions dashboards officially open their doors to the public. When this will be available is still unknown and will only be published once the Secretary of State is satisfied the dashboards ecosystem can support widespread public use. 

We do know that the Secretary of State will provide notice at least 6 months ahead of DAP.

Read more: Dashboard Availability Point – Debunking the myths

What is the pensions dashboards launch date?

Large pension providers are in the first wave. Initially, their staging date was the end of August 2023, however, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is currently working on a revised timeline. Currently, there are no fixed staging dates set.

Now the requirement for pension providers and schemes is to connect to the digital architecture by the connection deadline of 31 October 2026.

See also: What are pensions dashboards staging dates?

When do you need to connect to pensions dashboards?

There is a final connection deadline in place for schemes of 31 October 2026. We don't yet know the specifics for each scheme or provider, though we expect that a phased connection timeline will be announced by the government in due course. 

It's important that providers continue to prepare for connecting however. Not doing so may risk a bottle-neck nearer the time.

Can schemes defer beyond the 31 October 2026 connection deadline?

In February 2024, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released updated guidelines for pensions dashboards, outlining the factors that pension scheme trustees or managers need to take into account when seeking to postpone the connection deadline.

Applications for a deferred connection need to be made by 8 August 2024. DWP guidance allows trustees or managers to defer scheme connection for up to 12 months, in specific circumstances.

Circumstances include transferring data to a new administrator before August 9, 2023, or having a contract to retender the administration of the scheme with a reasonable timetable that conflicts with the connection deadline. To be considered, evidence must also be provided to outline why or how meeting the connection deadline would not be possible.

How do you connect to pensions dashboards?

To connect to pensions dashboards, you need a digital interface in place that adheres to MaPS (Money and Pensions Service) standards. Many pensions scheme providers are choosing to go down the route of an Integrated Service Provider (ISP), whereby a third-party connects you to pensions dashboards via their ISP connection, saving schemes valuable time, and mitigating much of the risk of doing it yourself too.

Read more: The ISP advantage: people get ready

What is an ISP (Integrated Service Provider)?

An ISP, in the context of Pensions Dashboards, is a third-party organization that acts as a bridge between your pension scheme and the Pensions Dashboards infrastructure. It plays a crucial role in ensuring your scheme is connected and compliant with the regulations.

Here's what an ISP can do for your pension scheme:

  • Data management
  • Secure connection and integration
  • Reporting and analytics

Read more: Selecting an ISP partner

Who will regulate pensions dashboards?

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will regulate pensions providers compliance in providing data to individuals via dashboards.

What are pensions dashboards staging dates?

Pensions dashboards staging dates refer to the scheduled timelines for different types and sizes of pension providers and schemes to connect to the central digital architecture of the Pensions Dashboards Programme.

Currently, there are no fixed staging dates set:

The final connection deadline for all schemes is 31 October 2026. However, the government will issue guidance outlining phased connection dates based on size and type of scheme.

Engagement on this proposed staging timetable is expected to begin in autumn 2024. Once finalised, schemes will receive at least six months' notice of their individual connection date.

How will pensions dashboards work in practice?

When an individual accesses the pensions dashboards, quite simply, they will request to see their pensions information.

Once identity is verified, a pension finder service will send a ‘Find’ request to all pension's schemes. If any scheme has a match, it will notify the system, and pending individual consent, the pension scheme will send the information to the dashboard, where the individual will then be able to view it.

What information do pension scheme providers need to share with pensions dashboards?

Information shared with pensions dashboards can be broken down into three categories – mandatory, conditional, and optional data.

  • Mandatory data includes given name(s), surname, date of birth and address.
  • Conditional data includes information such as national insurance number, alternate surname, and postcode.
  • Optional data includes information such as email address and mobile number.

What happens if an individual does not get a match with their data?

If a member does not get a match within the pensions dashboards system, and know they have a pension with a provider, there may be an issue with data quality. Scheme providers need to ensure their data is as accurate as possible to return successful matches. It could be that a member has changed name or moved address.

Individuals who do not get a match will likely contact pensions schemes to query their pension information if they do not get a match via the dashboard – this could lead to an increased administration workload for providers, meaning it is imperative that schemes prioritise ongoing data accuracy and validation.

More information on matching conventions can be found here: PASA Data Matching Convention Guidance

What do pensions dashboards look like?

We are not quite sure yet. Whilst development has long been underway, what the pensions dashboards will look like has yet to be unveiled.

You can however visit Moneyhub’s Dashboards Sandbox for a visual representation of how the dashboards ecosystem will work, and how it could look.

How do I know if my data is accurate when connecting to pensions dashboards?

Validating your member data can be done via a data cleansing exercise. This will ensure that scheme common data is correct and when applied via a business-as-usual service (BAU), remains correct. A quality data cleansing service will append, clean, and enhance name, date of birth, email addresses and phone numbers, including mobile phones. These data points cover Pensions Regulator (TPR) Common Data, Dashboard “Find” data and digital communication data.

Read more: Heywood's Dashboard data readiness checklist

What will happen after you have connected to pensions dashboards?

 Connecting to pensions dashboards is not a one-time exercise – once you’re connected, you’re always connected. As such, you will need to ensure you have an ongoing data validation and audit plan so that as your data naturally decays over time, you’re taking the necessary steps to cleanse and enhance it.
What next? Ensure your data is ready for connecting to dashboards by taking advantage of our FREE Dashboards Readiness Report. 

For more pensions dashboards resources visit our Hub.

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