The DB white paper consultation- is it a scam, a closed shop or just a cock-up?

Take the risk

The screen you get to by risking getting scammed

 

 

 

As one of the DWP’s “stakeholders”, I got this message in my inbox yesterday.

“I wanted to make you aware that the DWP has published a consultation for A Stronger Regulator today covering elements of its White Paper proposals for protecting defined benefit pension schemes. We have issued the following statement welcoming this package of measures.

A spokesperson for The Pensions Regulator said: “We welcome the package of measures outlined in the consultation which supports the actions we are already taking to protect pension savers by being clearer, quicker and tougher.

 

“The proposal to enable us to apply a range of sanctions, from administrative penalties to high level fines and criminal charges, for different types of breaches, will provide TPR with a more flexible enforcement framework. It will also help act as a strong deterrent against risky and reckless behaviour which threatens the retirement incomes of workers.

 

“These measures, together with greater transparency for trustees and TPR over the potential detrimental impact of corporate transactions on pension schemes and improvements to our anti-avoidance powers, are a major step forward in the protection of members.

 

“We will continue to work closely with the DWP to ensure the new powers work in practice and, in conjunction with our existing powers, are effective and proportionate.”

 

Press the link and you get to a screen with a link to a questionnaire. Answer a series of questions and you qualify to get to see Esther McVey’s forward and the new proposals from the DWP.

So before you have got anywhere near the information from the DWP about the Pensions Regulator, you’ve had to give Government a whole load of stuff about you, who you represent and what you’re doing poking your nose into pensions business.

As a user journey this is totally hopeless. All day long people who I’d forwarded the email to were sending me confused mails back asking where the consultation was.

It wasn’t until late last night that I , without any authority from anyone to do so, blagged my way through the DWP’s questions to find myself in Esther’s wonderland!

Simples – DWP – can you please explain before you demand questions of us. We are taught by our IT departments not to give away information to strangers. You may feel this doesn’t apply to you, but it does – believe it or not – we are also taught not to respond to emails from organisations claiming to be Government unless we are absolutely sure what is going on!

Anyone who follows the DWP down the consultation rabbit hole will be rewarded by the consultation, but anyone who gets that far, is almost certainly breaking one of the IT principles their employers have given them.


Consultations are for everyone

I have a second problem with the DWP’s approach. By asking questions, the DWP is suggesting that there are right or wrong answers.

Anyone who is interested in pensions , should have the right to information from Esther McVey and her department.

But before we can find out what she has to say , we have to disclose who we are and our employment status, details about our employer, our job and a lot of other stuff to. Failure to fill in this information results in a whole load of red type prohibiting you from seeing what the consultation is about until you do.

Here is the warning before you start

personal info

I be 95% of readers are not going to venture beyond this script. Would you?

And so , the DWP’s white paper consultation, about strengthening the Pension Regulator’s powers with criminal sanctions will be read by those few professional pension experts with the authority to get through  the screens – because they have been empowered by their employers to do so.

This is fundamentally undemocratic and against all the principles of public consultations. The DWP are using data capture as a means to frighten off those with a general interest in favour of an elite of habitual respondent’s.

The DWP may not consider it is operating a closed shop, but it is.


Or is this just a cock up?

At a time of paranoia about data (stoked by the GDPR), putting a consultation behind a data capture with no messaging whatsoever about where the consultation actually is – is very irresponsible.

At a point when Open Government is in question every time you tune in to the Brexit debate, this bizarre screening of people prior to them getting to the consultation is absurd.

I cannot think that the DWP’s intention was to lead us a merry dance, or to exclude the well meaning people who read consultations because they are interested (rather than paid to do it).

I can only conclude that the DWP have just cocked up!

There is a simple solution to this. Put a link to the consultation so that we can read it without having to go through the data capture.

When we have read what you have got to say, we will decide whether to respond, we shouldn’t be asked for our and our company’s details until we have had a chance to read what you (Government) has got to say.

 

Esther

Let us decide whether we are in a position to respond and do not subject the people who want to help you, to this kind of digital surveillance.


STOP PRESS**** STOP PRESS****STOP PRESS****

Since I have published this blog I have been sent a further email. Sadly – as a DWP stakeholder I wasn’t sent this directly but got it from a third party who is subscribed to the Work and Pensions Committee Homepage email alerts for The United Kingdom Parliament.

This information has recently been updated.

26-06-2018 04:27 PM BST
Work and Pensions Committee Chair comments on pension requirements

The following link will allow you to view a copy of the updated information

Thanks a lot DWP – conclusion – a cock up.

How about an apology to the “stakeholders” whose time you wasted yesterday?

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in DWP, pensions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The DB white paper consultation- is it a scam, a closed shop or just a cock-up?

  1. Con Keating says:

    There is now a pdf version of the consultation posted on the consultation website – it seems to be quite a bit shorter than the WPC version cited above

    Like

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