As well as explaining the missing millions owed to Mums by the DWP, Steve Webb brought up an interesting issue for the Pensions Dashboard.
Because not every dashboard user has a national insurance number, the “Nino” will not be a mandatory field for people to supply for “pension finding”. But not including your Nino, could prevent you from seeing your state pension as part of your likely retirement income.
Steve isn’t saying that you won’t get your state pension if it isn’t on the dashboard , but he is saying that the dashboard will – if no state pension appears – underestimate people’s future income – making for a bad experience.
With this in mind, I sprinted over to RSM’s Farringdon’s office , just in time to hear dashboard guru – Richard Smith – address an audience of payroll experts on – the pension dashboard. All part of National Payroll Week.
In an invigorating talk on how the dashboards will work, Richard covered just this topic and (prompted by me) went on to explain how one dashboard tester (MoneyHub) were dealing with this problem.
Sure enough , MoneyHub’s proto-dashboard is promoting the Nino as a “we urge you to share” item with the emphasis being on sharing if at all possible – if you want to see all your future pensions in one place.
This of course links to a greater awareness of state pension entitlement, something Steve Webb is keen to promote, not least because thousands of state pensions are being underpaid due to deficiencies in the state pension system.
Steve estimates that over 3 million individual state pension records have been tagged with actions that have not been “actioned”. In other words, civil servants have flagged potential problems with pensions about to be or in payment, that may be wrong. He also estimates that almost all of those tags have not been looked into and remedy has not been actioned.
His conclusion is that everyone should be checking their national insurance credits for state pensions, something you can do on LCP’s state pension checking websites.
Alan Chaplin , someone who knows about data , had asked the former minister if the dashboard could help. Webb was certain that pension dashboards could help, not least to get people to check their entitlements and make sure they were being paid what they were due going forward, or on a back-dated basis.
As ever, the key to this issue is that people feel confident in sharing data. Sadly, the pensions industry is currently warning anyone who will listen that sharing data is a risky business. But as Richard Smith told his audience , we cannot plan to reduce risk by not promoting access to all pensions . A data sharing culture is needed both from those who hold our data and from users (you and me). The dashboard must encourage confidence in its full use or it will not be used!
Holding back your Nino for security reasons is your choice, but it is up to the pension dashboard program to encourage confidence in the system, not to flag imaginary security issues. So let’s make sure that what MoneyHub is promoting – a data sharing culture among consumers – as well as providers – is the culture of the dashboard.