The Pensions Dashboard has at last got its own website which you can access here
It’s not the prototype website which you can still access here
Nor the excellent dashboard ideas site which is here
Nor does it link to the House of Commons website on the pensions dashboard here
Nor is it the MAPS website page,
It is the website or the Pensions Dashboard Programme
I am not saying it is the easiest URL ;https://www.pensionsdashboardsprogramme.org.uk/
Nor that it’s strap line is the most catchy;
But after 18 months of too-ing and fro-ing there is at least and last a place to go to find out what MAPS is saying is going to happen next.
For now we have Chris Curry’s blog which does at least give us a timeline to a timeline but stops well short of telling us when we can have tangible delivery by way of a pension finder service, let alone the delivery of the whole 9 miles.
If it did no more than find our pensions it would have worked.
We are about to set out on a consultation on what should be on the dashboard. There will be a data standards working group to work out what data standards we need and this will be informed by research being done by PWC on what the pension providers feel they want to share. We are still at the stage of establishing scope and definitions which is rather discouraging to those who remember promises at the beginning of 2019 that the single state dashboard would be up and running by the end of this year.
COVID-19 cannot be blamed for these delays. Most of us have been finding ourselves more rather than less productive over the past three months, there was ample opportunity for the consultation on these matters to have already have completed. Like the website, things are taking a lot too long and there’s too much complexity.
What we need to be able to do is find our pensions and have a nice bit of kit to see them in one place, that is the minimum viable product that we crave and if we can get 90% of that up and running by the end of 2021 that will be a win. My guess is that when we get a timeline (which now looks like in October) the pension finder service will be integrated into a lot of other stuff and the delivery date pushed back into 2022 or later.
My fear is that the pension finder won’t be available till we have close to 100% of all schemes sharing data on a mandated basis – which pushes the timeline for an integrated product back to 2025 or later.
I am a little outside the tent, but I do get to talk to Chris Curry and he is not just courteous but really helpful in getting me to understand the art of the possible.
My message to Chris, after reading his blog is that we must be able to launch a pension finder service sooner rather than later and that it should be the minimum viable product that keeps the pension dashboard in the public mind.
These are the top google searches that emanate from keying in pension dashboard
It is with a heavy heart that I remind myself that delivery of even an MVP such as the Pension Finder Service will be subject to a Government procurement process. This has at least started with a request for expressions of interest
All this is fine if it was being done at pace, but it isn’t. We know what happens to Government projects which are done at pace, look to the Isle of Wight. So you might ask why I want this sped up. It’s because when the Government worked out they could not track and trace themselves , they went to Google and Facebook and others who can, and so we’re going to track and trace as the market does.
The parallel is clear, while we embark on all this consultation and procurement, the answer is staring us in the face. Origo have built the kit and have planned the architecture for integrating, I imagine they have their data standard template which is ready for delivery, we should be up and running finding pensions as soon as we can get the standards into the public domain.
It seems to me that the best way forward for the pensions dashboard is to leave all the arguing about what should be shown on the single non-commercial MAPS dashboard to consultation and get on with delivering a service that the public overwhelmingly say they want, a way to find out lost pension pots and to see them all in one place.
Let’s get on with it!