Will MAPS “Challenge Groups” challenge?

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I am “delighted” to say I am not part of the Money and Pensions latest strategic initiative and have not been invited to lead or join any of their new challenge groups as detailed on their website.

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I don’t think that anyone who genuinely wants to challenge the way we improve “financial well-being” will be best doing so through an arms length Government body.

MAPS represents the status quo – not a challenge to it. The challenge to the status quo comes from the entrepreneurs who create the wealth that pays for the financial security that we as a nation enjoy.

I am happy that this group of people, talented and well-intentioned as they are – provide ballast, but to suggest that they will “challenge” is far-fetched!

I challenge MAPS!

The challenges we have are much wider than those covered by the  MAPS strategy document.

MAPS is not addressing the looming crisis is long term care.

MAPS is not challenging the scandals within the financial system – including the FCA

MAPS is not addressing the pitiful take up of pension or universal credits

I could go on…

MAPS has taken upon itself a strategic role and is trying to morph into a think-tank. But that is not what we pay our levies for. We pay our levies for Money and Pensions Services delivered to ordinary people through Pension Wise, TPAS and MAS.

We have a Department of Work and Pensions, the FCA and tPR are constantly consulting on the issues the MAPS challenge groups are set up to “challenge”. Meantime the major projects which have been entrusted to MAPS, the provision of pensions guidance and the delivery of help to those in  financial trouble are being constantly relegated.

If you want to read about the frustrations people have at not getting a pensions dashboard, the key project entrusted to  MAPS, read this.

These challenge groups are a massive distraction, not just for people with important jobs to do to deliver in their own organisations , but to MAPS itself.

MAPS – stop talking and start doing.

No doubt we will have a succession of self-congratulating tweets from those who have been sucked into these groups. The tweets are well underway.






I challenge everyone running and participating in these groups to consider this.

Britain is suffering from lack of productivity. We do too little effective work. We spend more time at work than many of our peers in the OECD but we get less done.

There is a reason for this. It is not that we don’t work hard, it’s that we don’t focus on the right things.

My challenge to the challenge groups is “will what you are doing make Britain more productive – so that we can afford the welfare state that includes MAPS?

I would ask all the people on these groups whether the activities of the group improve the capacity of people not in the groups to do their jobs better and to contribute to the national resource that pays for our health service, our benefits system  our retirement income and our later life care?

If you cannot answer those questions positively, then you are not being productive and you should return to your day jobs where your skills and time are needed.

MAPS must be accountable for these challenge groups

These groups have to genuinely challenge and change things. Many of the things that they are setting out to change, are being changed by people in the private sector.

Simply re-deploying those people for the benefit of MAPS is not a good enough reasons for these groups to exist.

MAPS must be accountable for these groups if they are not going to be mere talking-shops and stepping stones on people’s CVs to “portfolio careers”.

About henry tapper

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