About this consultation
Purpose of the consultation
The purpose of this consultation, is to seek views on two elements of the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations, and on a further supporting measure. The draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations, which were subject to a broader consultation earlier this year, make provision for the requirements to be met by pension dashboard services or the providers of these services, and by trustees or managers of relevant occupational pensions schemes (meaning occupational schemes which are not stakeholder pensions schemes) in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).
In addition, the department has a duty under Article 36(4) of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) to consult the Information Commissioner during the preparation of legislative measures regarding the disclosure of information.
Issued: 28 June 2022.
Respond by: 19 July 2022.
Territorial extent: This consultation applies to England, Wales and Scotland. It is envisaged that Northern Ireland will make corresponding legislation.
Who this consultation is aimed at
We welcome views from any interested parties. We are particularly keen to hear from:
- individuals with a UK pension
- pensions and lifetime savings industries
- finance and consumer representative groups with an interest in pensions capability, financial capability, data protection and security
- trustees or managers of occupational pension schemes
- pensions administrators
- pensions administration software providers
- firms interested in offering Integrated Service Provider (ISP) services
- Financial Technology (Fintech) companies
- The Information Commissioner
- organisations interested in setting up pensions dashboards
How to respond to this consultation
Please provide your consultation responses, using the form on the consultation webpage, and email to: [email protected]
When responding please indicate whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation.
We will publish the government response to the consultation on the GOV.UK website. The government response will summarise consultation responses and set out the government’s proposed next steps.
This consultation is being conducted in line with the revised Cabinet Office consultation principles published in 2018. These principles give clear guidance to government departments on conducting consultations.
Confidentiality and data protection
The information you send us may need to be passed to colleagues within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and may be published in a summary of responses received and referred to in the published consultation report. We also anticipate that we may share information with our key working partners: the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) through the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP). All information contained in your response, including personal information, may be subject to publication or disclosure if requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
By providing personal information for the purposes of the public consultation exercise, it is understood that you consent to its disclosure and publication. If this is not the case, you should limit any personal information provided, or remove it completely. If you want the information in your response to the consultation to be kept confidential, you should explain why as part of your response, although we cannot guarantee to do this.
Feedback on the consultation process
We value your feedback on how well we consult. If you have any comments about the consultation process (as opposed to comments about the issues which are the subject of the consultation), including if you feel that the consultation does not adhere to the values expressed in the consultation principles or that the process could be improved, please address them to:
DWP Consultation Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Purpose and scope of this consultation and draft Regulations
This consultation is the second of two public consultations on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 which will introduce pensions dashboards, an electronic communications service for use by individuals to access information about their pensions.
The first consultation, launched in January 2022, included an indicative draft of the Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022[footnote 1].
The Regulations included:
- the requirements to be met by pensions dashboard services and their providers (in order for a pensions dashboard service to be a “qualifying pensions dashboards service”)
- the requirements on trustees or managers of relevant occupational pension schemes in relation to co-operating with and connecting to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and the data they must provide to individuals via MaPS
- provisions for TPR to take enforcement action in relation to pension schemes that do not comply
We are grateful for the range of responses we received to that consultation. We will be publishing a full government response in due course. Having carefully considered responses to the first consultation, this further consultation relates to 2 specific matters:
Dashboards Available Point (DAP) – providing clarity within the Regulations on the DAP following consideration of responses to the first consultation
Disclosure of information between MaPS and TPR – additional provisions in the Regulations enabling sharing of information by MaPS with TPR in relation to pensions dashboard services to support the running of the pensions dashboards ecosystem (meaning the interconnected system that will enable pensions dashboard services to work). In addition, we propose by separate statutory instrument made under section 86(2) of the Pensions Act 2004 to amend Schedule 3 to that Act, to enable TPR to share restricted information with MaPS where TPR considers that disclosure would enable or assist MaPS to exercise its functions in connection with the Pensions Dashboards Regulations
Included at Annex A and Annex B are indicative drafts of these two provisions for proposed inclusion in the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations. The proposed Order to amend Schedule 3 is not included, although this consultation seeks views on the proposed policy approach. This consultation contains questions on specific issues where we would like feedback. Responses to the consultation will help to inform the drafting of the Regulations.
Dashboards Available Point (DAP)
1. As outlined in our January 2022 consultation, we believe that in the long term, pensions dashboards can help with the following objectives:
- a. Increase individuals’ awareness and understanding of their pension information and estimated retirement income to build a greater sense of control and ownership
- b. Reconnect individuals with lost pots
- c. Increase engagement with more people accessing impartial guidance and financial advice that is available
- d. Support the guidance and advice processes by providing people with access to their pensions information at a time of their choosing
- e. Enable individuals to make more informed choices in the decumulation phase by making it easier to access some of the information on which to base their decisions
2. The Dashboards Available Point (DAP) is the point at which pensions dashboards services, as provided for in the Regulations, will be made available to all members of the public. This will be at the point at which we believe sufficient progress has been made to demonstrate that pensions dashboards can begin working to meet our stated objectives.
3. The DAP is not a new concept. It is one that we have communicated publicly as proposals for pensions dashboards have developed. Within the responses to our consultation on draft Regulations which closed in March, we received a range of feedback on the DAP. Respondents emphasised that:
- a. The DAP must be carefully selected:
- i. Some flagged that pensions dashboards should cover a sufficient proportion of the population seeking to view their pensions information before the DAP
- ii. The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) highlighted that the DAP should be based on a range of criteria that have been carefully tested and goes beyond just achieving a certain level of coverage. The department expects the evidence which will shape the DAP criteria to emerge through private Beta testing when the Programme can test the service with invited users at scale
b. They would value more certainty around the DAP to ensure schemes are prepared for an increase in queries, can cope operationally and can effectively manage communication to their members.
c. There was a view that the DAP should be agreed on between DWP, the MaPS, TPR and the FCA. Many were concerned that the DAP could otherwise be selected to tie in with the availability of State Pension data. DWP has committed to providing State Pension data from the DAP. Respondents were concerned that the availability of State Pension data could be the key determining factor in when the DAP is unless agreed with MaPS, TPR and the FCA.
d. Some questioned whether multiple, incremental DAPs had been considered and whether this was a favourable approach to one single DAP. Respondents felt this approach would ensure the best possible experience, by allowing the effective monitoring of success and performance over time, whilst also delivering high levels of protection.
4. Having listened to this feedback, we are proposing to include a provision on the DAP within the Pensions Dashboards Regulations. We want to give pension schemes, prospective dashboard providers and members of the public a further opportunity to provide meaningful feedback on the proposal.
5. We propose that the DAP provision will outline that pensions dashboard services will become available for use by the public from a date that is to be specified in a notice issued by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Prior to this date, a controlled set of volunteer data providers will connect to the dashboards ecosystem to test its effective functioning. The PDP has worked with industry to identify providers to be involved in this testing work.
6. It is proposed that, in determining the date for the DAP, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the dashboard ecosystem is ready to support the widespread use of qualifying pensions dashboard services. This includes consulting with MaPS, TPR and the FCA as well as having regard to matters such as security and conformance testing.
7. To ensure that industry has sufficient lead in time from the DAP being announced to the point at which it occurs and to ensure that a range of user-focused criteria (such as matching, clarity and user comprehension) are sufficiently developed, the Secretary of State will be required to give notice of when the DAP will be in advance and must publish the notice on the GOV.UK website. DWP, in partnership with MaPS, will take steps to publicise the DAP to help build engagement and drive individuals to dashboards from the start.
8. We expect the formal announcement of the DAP by the Secretary of State to be a final confirmation. The government is committed to working transparently with MaPS and industry to provide updates on our plans for the DAP well in advance of this formal notice. There will be significant communications between the Government, MaPS, and industry in the lead up to any announcement and so at the point at which the DAP is announced, it should not come as a surprise.
9. It is important that the notice period (the period between the notice being issued and the Dashboards Available Point) strikes the right balance. On one hand, it must be a sufficient length of time to ensure industry can make final preparations, on the other hand, we do not want it to be too long because it must be responsive to testing and certain criteria having been met. With that in mind, we propose three months between the announcement and the DAP occurring.
10. As outlined in paragraph 8, we will continue to work transparently with industry on progress towards the DAP from the point at which the Regulations are made. We therefore believe 90 days notice is sufficient as the point at which a final confirmation of the DAP is made.
Consultation question 1
Do you agree that 90 days is a reasonable period between the DAP formally being announced, and the DAP itself?
Disclosure of information – The Pensions Regulator and the Money and Pensions Service
1. MaPS and TPR have key roles to play in the operation of pensions dashboard services and need to work together to effectively establish and connect schemes to the dashboard ecosystem, and to ensure the secure ongoing delivery of the pensions dashboards services.
2. The PDP, as part of MaPS, is responsible for developing the pensions dashboards ecosystem, which will enable individuals to view all their pensions data via their chosen dashboard. TPR hold key information to enable planning for implementation, will be supporting the secure onboarding of schemes, and are responsible for ensuring the compliance of pension schemes with their legislative requirements.
3. To carry out these activities in a secure and efficient way, the PDP and TPR need to be able to share information with each other about schemes. With this in mind, we have drafted a new provision to establish a clear power to expressly enable MaPs to disclose information to TPR in relation to pensions dashboard services to support their work specifically in the context of the Pensions Dashboards Regulations.
4. A brief description of this new provision, contained in Annex B, is as follows:
- Paragraph (1) sets out that MaPS may share information with TPR for the purpose of enabling or assisting MaPS or the Regulator to exercise its functions in connection with these Regulations
- Paragraph (2) sets out that sharing of this information does not breach any obligation of confidence or any other restriction however imposed – though paragraph (3) stipulates that these provisions do not override Data Protection legislation
- Paragraph (4) confirms that these provisions do not limit other powers to disclose information or how information can otherwise be shared
5. In addition, we intend to introduce an Order under section 86(2) of the Pensions Act 2004 to amend Schedule 3 to the Pensions Act 2004 – to enable TPR to share restricted information with MaPS in respect of MaPS dashboards functions. TPR already have the power to share information in relation to their own functions under section 84 of the Pension Act 2004.
6. Providing a power to disclose information in this way is in keeping with other disclosure provisions that are already in place for both bodies. For example, both TPR and MaPS have express powers to share information with FCA.
7. Both bodies will have governance measures in place to manage the flow of the information, access to it and use of it – in a similar way to how their current powers to disclose information are managed. They will have a comprehensive data sharing agreement in place which will be published.
8. Some examples of what this means in practice and why it is needed, include the following:
- TPR is the only body who holds certain relevant information about pension schemes via its Scheme Register, which is essential for MaPS planning for implementation, and for security purposes
- MaPS will be privy to data and management information that arises from the running of the dashboards ecosystem that will be key for TPR to perform its compliance functions
- TPR is the body with functions to ensure compliance of relevant occupational pension schemes with the requirements as set out in the Regulations, and MaPS is the only body able to connect or disconnect a scheme
9. Generally, the type of information to be shared relates to scheme data and data relating to dashboard processes. We do not expect this to typically include the sharing of personal data – however possible exceptions include:
- where the contact details for a scheme or scheme end point include an email address or telephone number identifiable to an individual; or,
- where an individual’s data might be part of an investigation into non-compliance (which is enabled under existing powers under section 84 of Pensions Act 2004)
10. More specifically – some examples are listed below setting out some of the data that would be shared under the draft provisions, and how it would be used. These lists are not exhaustive. It is important that the provision reflects the nature of the bodies working together in partnership in a dynamic and evolving delivery environment. The proposed power to share information under these provisions is, however, restricted to information in connection with the dashboard functions of MaPS and TPR as provided for in the draft Regulations.
11. MaPS data to be shared with TPR under the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations – examples include:
PDP dashboards ecosystem data will be used by TPR to undertake its functions under the Pensions Dashboards Regulations, namely, to facilitate compliance by trustees or managers of their duties under the Regulations and TPR’s wider function to take such ancillary actions conducive to facilitate this
the data TPR will receive will include the following broad categories (note this is not a complete list of data items):
- i. Initial connection / registration data – to enable TPR to monitor compliance and undertake suitable interventions when non-compliance has occurred
- ii. Ongoing connection status data – to enable TPR to monitor compliance and undertake suitable interventions when non-compliance has occurred
- iii. Scheme endpoint data – the scheme endpoint is the software / provider the scheme is using to connect to the ecosystem (for example whether it’s an in-house system, a third-party administrator or an ISP being used to connect). The data will contextualise other data received as support for the monitoring of compliance, for example whether one or multiple endpoints require monitoring for connection
- iv. Management information summary regarding find and view requests – to monitor find and view activity at the scheme level and detect any potential risks of underperforming connections for follow up engagement / investigation
- v. Contextual data – for example the matching criteria used by a scheme. To support the analysis / monitoring of compliance and detection of non-compliance risks
- vi. Compliance data – when TPR needs further information from PDP in relation to a particular scheme(s) and want PDP to search its records to provide detailed information and support in respect of its regulatory functions
- vii. Reporting materials – that MaPS will be receiving from pension schemes
12. TPR data to be shared with MaPS under a proposed statutory instrument to amend Schedule 3 to the Pensions Act 2004 – examples include:
Consultation question 2
Do you have any comments on the proposed powers to disclose information?
List of consultation questions
We ask that you provide your reasoning for your answers to the consultation questions that you respond to.
Consultation question 1: Do you agree that 90 days is a reasonable period between the DAP formally being announced, and the DAP itself?
Consultation question 2: Do you have any comments on the proposed powers to disclose information?
Annex A: Draft Dashboards Available Point (DAP) provision
Dashboards Available Point:
1. Qualifying pensions dashboard services are to be available for use by the general public from a date to be specified (“the Dashboards Available Point”) in a notice issued by the Secretary of State.
2. Prior to the Dashboards Available Point, qualifying pensions dashboard services are only available for use by individuals who are invited by or on behalf of the Money and Pensions Service to use pensions dashboard services for testing purposes.
3. The Secretary of State must issue a notice to specify the Dashboards Available Point at least 90 days before the Dashboards Available Point.
4. Before issuing a notice to specify the Dashboards Available Point, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the dashboards ecosystem is ready to support widespread use of qualifying pensions dashboard services by the general public:
- a. having regard in particular to matters such as security and conformance testing, and
- b. following consultation with the Money and Pensions Service, the Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority
5. As soon as reasonably practicable after issuing the notice, the Secretary of State must publish the notice on the GOV.UK website.
6. After publishing the notice, the Secretary of State must take steps to publicise the Dashboards Available Point.
Annex B: Draft Disclosure of Information provision
Part 5 Disclosure of Information
Disclosure of information by the Money and Pensions Service
1. The Money and Pensions Service may disclose information to the Regulator, provided that the disclosure is for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Money and Pensions Service or the Regulator (as the case may be) to exercise its functions in connection with these Regulations.
2. Except as provided by paragraph (3), the disclosure of information under this regulation does not breach:
- a. any obligation of confidence owed by the person making the disclosure, or
- b. any other restriction on the disclosure of information (however imposed)
3. This regulation does not authorise a disclosure of information if the disclosure would contravene the data protection legislation, where “the data protection legislation” has the same meaning as in the Data Protection Act 2018 (see section 3 of that Act).
4. This regulation does not limit the circumstances in which information may be disclosed apart from this regulation.