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John Dale

Let's cast our minds back to 2023, a year that presented its challenges to us all in one way or another. Interest rates continued to climb and high inflation pushed instore prices to record heights. The energy crisis turned heating into a luxury and hot tubs into fishponds. Millions of post-COVID hybrid workers were forced out of their freezing homes and ordered to return to their warm and freshly refurbished offices, up to twice a week in extreme cases! HS2’s remaining northern leg was scrapped and worst of all, the DWP announced the reset of the Pensions Dashboards Programme (fortunately, rumours of all pension schemes north of Birmingham being excluded from find requests were unfounded!).

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

When DWP published their written ministerial statement on 2 March 2023, most of the pensions industry agreed that a reset was necessary for the future success of the dashboards.

Schemes were urged to continue with their dashboard preparations and 22 frustrated early participants (pension providers, schemes, and integrated service providers) ripped up their project plans, threw away their sales forecasts and waited patiently for further details to be provided.

The draft Pensions Dashboards (Amendment) Regulations 2023 were published in June and came into force on 9 August. The regulations put in place a single connection deadline of 31 October 2026 and moved connection dates to guidance, which DWP are due to publish in Spring 2024.

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) have continued to communicate with industry throughout the reset, but it’s going to be some time before standards and guidance are finalised, and early participants can reconnect to the test Central Digital Architecture and prepare for live connection.

What have Heywood been doing during the reset period?

Heywood have continued to engage regularly with customers, PDP and other industry stakeholders.

We’ve used the reset as an opportunity to enhance our ISP service, rather than suspending development and diverting resources to other projects. Our product team have been busy running customer workshops to improve existing ISP functionality and identify and plan new developments in areas such as:

  • Automated data transfer
  • Reporting
  • Data matching configuration and testing
  • Possible match resolution
  • Missing value data processing
  • AVC processing
  • Value data storage

Customer engagement

We’ve been working hard to assist customers with their Pensions Dashboards and data readiness preparations. Our Customer Relationship Management, Dashboard SMEs and Data Services teams have provided 55 PDP overviews to customers and scheme trustees and 66 free Dashboard Data Readiness reports.

PDP engagement

Heywood have met regularly with the PDP since we joined their alpha programme in July 2021. The group was renamed to the ‘Early Participant Programme’ in Autumn 2022, when a further 15 data providers joined. We are also members of the PDP’s Connection Delivery Group and Communications Group, and we’ve just volunteered to join their new User Testing and Planning Group.

Other stakeholder engagement

We’ve also been working closely with other industry stakeholders to help deliver dashboards, including:

Local Government Association (LGA)

Heywood are a member of the LGA’s National LGPS Technical Sub-group – AVCs & Dashboards. Our Pensions Dashboards SMEs have been working closely with other group members to assist LGA with their ‘AVCs and Pensions Dashboards Recommendations’ guidance.

Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA)

We have continued to work closely with PASA. Chief Strategy Officer Chris Connelly and Head of Data Services David Rich, our PASA Pensions Dashboards Working Group members, have contributed to the following PASA guidance (published during the reset period):

What happens next?

2024 is going to be a busy year for Heywood and everyone else involved in the programme.

PDP will be progressing work on the dashboard standards and guidance, in parallel with their preparations for connection testing.

Our consultancy teams will start to confirm our implementation plans and timetables as soon as the staged connection guidance is published. Likewise, our development teams will start to prepare for reconnection to the PDP’s Test Central Digital Architecture when the Technical and Data Standards are made available.

Don’t get left behind

2024 stands to be a pivotal year for pensions dashboards preparations. If you haven’t began planning for your connection to the ecosystem, now is the time.

Find out how Heywood’s ISP will ensure you have a robust, secure, compliant and fully integrated solution for connecting to pensions dashboards.

You’ll also need to ensure your data is ‘dashboards ready’. That’s why we’re offering a free Dashboards Readiness Report, to help you get stated.

Visit our Pensions Dashboards Hub for more. 

is your data really dashboards ready?