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Pensions dashboard costs rise by £54m

Pensions dashboard costs rise by £54m
Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

The estimated cost of the programme has jumped 23%, from £235m in 2020 to £289m in 2023 – and there is still no launch date for the scheme.

The pensions dashboard is designed to allow people to view all their pensions online. But a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) found costs for the project have increased, while there is still no confirmed date for when the service will be available to the public.

The spending watchdog said a range of factors, including rise in supplier costs, a lack of digital skills and ineffective governance, had increased the programme’s estimated cost by 23%.

Pensions dashboards will enable people to view information about their private, workplace and state pensions online, securely and in one place. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) expects these dashboards to deliver significant benefits by helping people to plan better for retirement, make more informed financial decisions and connect with ‘lost’ pension pots.

In 2019, the DWP delegated responsibility for delivering the pensions dashboard programme (PDP) to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). However, it did not have assurance at the outset that the MaPS – which was formed in October 2018 – had the capacity and capability to deliver the programme.

Revised connection deadline

Between 2020 and mid-2022, the DWP and MaPS made progress in delivering important elements of the pensions dashboard system. However, in December 2022, the MaPS informed the DWP that the delivery timetable was no longer viable.

A subsequent review carried out by the DWP in February 2023 found that multiple factors had contributed to the delivery problems, including a lack of skilled digital resources and ineffective programme governance. These factors had also been raised in earlier reviews of the programme.

This delay led to a programme reset and a revised final connection deadline of 31 October 2026 – one year later than what was outlined in the original timetable.

The DWP has yet to specify when pensions dashboards will become available to the estimated 16.3 million users who could stand to benefit. However, due to the delay, this is likely to be later than previously expected.

‘Potential to help retirement planning for millions’

Becky O’Connor, director of public affairs at PensionBee, said: “We recognise the significance of the pensions dashboards programme and its potential to help retirement planning for millions of savers across the UK. The recent National Audit Office report sheds light on the challenges faced by the programme, particularly the digital skills shortage and governance issues, which have contributed to delays in its implementation.

“The PDP aims to empower individuals by offering a centralised platform to access information about their pensions conveniently. This initiative aligns with our mission at PensionBee to make pensions simple, so that everyone can look forward to a happy retirement.

“However, the delays highlighted in the report underscore the importance of robust scrutiny and ensuring that valuable lessons are learned if the programme is to move forward. The revised connection deadline of October 2026 presents a new milestone for the programme, and it is crucial that efforts are intensified to meet this target. PensionBee remains committed to supporting initiatives that enhance pension accessibility and looks forward to the successful completion of the PDP.”

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