The pensions industry should expect a busy rest of the year as work on the pensions dashboard begins to ramp up, according to Pensions Dashboard Programme (PDP) principal Chris Curry.
Speaking at PP Live yesterday (13 July) Curry said extensive work was underway on the long-awaited project that the industry had yet to see in full.
"It's only in the past month or so that we've really been able to publicise a lot of the work happening but it looks like we have a busy summer ahead with market and industry engagement which will lead to a very busy end of the year where, as we build up momentum, we will have the publication of the first set of data standards and also start procurement for the digital architecture for the PDP," he said.
This follows the PDP's publication of a progress report and two working papers in April as the UK went into Covid-19 lockdown.
Curry said the Money and Pensions Service (Maps) - which launched the PDP last year - had released the progress updates without calling for industry input, but that the PDP was now building its plans to "engage" with the industry moving forward.
It announced a six-week digital architecture market engagement project in June, which is set to wrap up at the end of this month.
Curry said: "The engagement exercise will enable the PDP to examine the readiness, capacity and capability of commercial firm which might be interested in the work."
This comes ahead of a formal procurement process anticipated to start in August.
"We think that depending on the procurement process, it could be anywhere from 6-18 months to undertake the full exercise, but we will have a clearer idea at the end of the market engagement," Curry continued.
He also confirmed there was "still the expectation" that there would be multiple dashboards, and Maps would launch separate dashboard from the PDP's project.
He said: "That is a separate part of Maps that will construct the Maps dashboard - it's quite a strange quirk that the PDP is not actually constructing a dashboard in itself but rather the ecosystem and technical architecture to allow dashboards to operate.
"The job of the PDP is to develop a system which allows access of data and we are planning to do that through some digital architecture initially in three main components, a pension finder service - which does what it says on the tin - that allows individuals to find their pensions from the different providers. Also, an identify service, so it's very clear that the right individuals are given access to the right data, and also a governance register which is really where the technical provisions of the ecosystem are looked after, governed and maintained."
Curry said the dashboard project was vital to helping progress financial wellbeing in the UK.
"It's important individuals find out about their pensions in the first instance, but that isn't enough to help people with their financial wellbeing," he said. "We need to signpost to help people understand where they can go for further help and further advice to understand what is in their pensions and what they can do with it as well.
"In time, dashboards will allow people to act and help people make better informed decisions."
The next progress report for the government on the pensions dashboard is due in October.
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