Auto-enrolment needs common data standards!



At a recent meeting of the CIPP’s working group “The Friends of AE”, (FoAE) concern was expressed to Pensions Minister Steve Webb that without the introduction of a common data standards, the wheels might fall off auto-enrolment.

According to leading payroll spokesman Alex Rowle , one payroll software supplier has built 46 provider interfaces. It  fears that more will have to be built unless a common data standard is established.

The group also pressed for greater clarity from the enforcement arm of the Pensions Regulator on the staging status of up to 8,000 employers who appear to have gone AWOL.

Steve Webb was keen to calm industry fears and lent his support to the working group’s efforts to the groups aim to bring payroll software houses, payroll practitioners and pension providers and advisers together,


Henry Tapper, Founder of Pension PlayPen and a committee member of FoAE warned against alarmism

“There is a real danger that the voices of the Jeremiahs are all that is heard”.


We are encouraged to see the proposals for PAPDIS, a data standard developed by the industry body BIB which commands the support of the leading pension providers, payroll and middleware suppliers. With the support of the Regulator more progress has been made in the last four weeks than we’ve seen in the last four years”.

“There’s no  doubt there is some slippage from the super-high compliance standards we saw in 2012-13, but this is to be expected. So far we have seen 15,000 employers auto-enrol 3.2m employees, The remaining 7.8m employees will be enrolled  by over 1m employers.

“The greatest danger is complacency. In 1999 the Labour government hailed our final salary pension system “Britain’s economic miracle” fifteen years later it is in tatters”. We cannot let the same happen to the auto-enrolment system’.

“It is up to organisations such as Pension PlayPen to make smaller companies and their advisers aware of their duties. We need  to provide them with the tools to choose a workplace pension and put in place the processes for auto-enrolment to work”

“But it’s not up us to enforce compliance with auto-enrolment and we remain concerned that without better intelligence, the Pensions Regulator may simply not know that companies are failing.”

“So the Pension Regulator has work to do too; it needs to use intelligence from HMRC using its own data standard to get an early warning system. Prevention is better than cure.”

Pension PlayPen is an online tool for small employers and their advisers which helps them learn how to do the auto-enrolment basics using live data in a dummy environment. It allows employers to research which providers will offer them workplace pensions and enables them to make an informed decision on which best suits their needs. Employers and Advisers wishing to investigate this service can do so using


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About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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