Schemes need more certainty over the data they will have to provide for dashboards, as the minister is expected to take a heavier stance in 2021, experts say.
In December, the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) published the data standards which will underpin the initial technology but said it did not expect enough information to be dashboard-ready before 2023.
LCP partner and former pensions minister Steve Webb said the industry now needs a clearer steer and that government must play its part.
"The industry view is 'tell us what you want, tell us what we have to provide, and then we can prioritise,' instead of just keep saying, ‘get your data sorted out, get your data sorted out'. This is partly because there are actually always more pressing things to be done," he said.
He added that schemes in general are already trying to improve their data standards and conducting data exercises such as GMP reconciliation.
Part of the problem is the Pension Schemes Bill, which will introduce a legislative network for the dashboards, has been delayed by about six months and is still awaiting Royal Assent.
Webb said: "Legislation is needed, and everybody wants certainty and wants to know what they're going to have to provide and when - and then we're in with a chance. Of course, too much pension scheme data is very poor, and schemes should have good data, but I think government needs to play its part and government has been part of the delay."
Webb said once the Pension Schemes Bill gets Royal Assent, which should be this month, regulations will be published setting out who has to provide what data and when. "That will be the key next step."
He added that one problem is that he "does not think ministers understand the realities of running an occupational pension scheme, that so often they respond to the ‘next thing'".
GMP equalisation is one example, Webb said: "On one hand DWP is saying to schemes 'sort your data or equalise your GMPs', and [on the other hand] the industry's saying well 'you haven't told us what data you want in what format you haven't told us what the tax implications are, you haven't given us the legislative overrides. It's a bit of a standoff."
Pension providers will be required to ensure that the data they hold is consistent with the data standards, so that consumers can access this information.
AgeWage chief executive officer Henry Tapper said he expected pensions minister Guy Opperman to get "quite heavy in 2021 about the data" because "there's been so little action on it for the last two or three years" and "we're already a year and a half behind."
"It does seem to me that this can be dragged out for a very, very long time, unless somebody takes some action and says, 'here are the standards we expect you to achieve and you have to show that you can achieve those standards - or else we will come in to see whether you are ready, because you'll have to comply," Tapper said.
The dashboard has a "long way to go", he added, and said he thought the data standards should not have taken as long as they did.
"There's a whole lot of other stuff they need to get in place, and let's hope they don't take as long getting that sorted out as they did with the data standards," he said.