Jonathan Stapleton says the success of the government's check your state pension service shows just how popular a dashboard could be if it can be launched.
HM Revenue & Customs has revealed that around eight million state pension forecasts have been viewed online since the government's digital ‘check your state pension' service was launched in February 2016.
But the extent of its success has come as a surprise to many.
A Freedom of Information Act request by Professional Pensions has shown that, based on monthly figures there were a total of 4,552,065 forecasts viewed from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 - a 36% increase on the 3,337,932 forecasts viewed from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.
In total, around eight million state pension forecasts have now been viewed online since the service launched.
Since the beginning of this year alone, there have been a total of 3,320,864 online state pension forecasts viewed (1 January 2018 to 31 July 2018) compared to just 230,940 paper forecasts.
The success of the ‘check your state pension' service demonstrates the pent-up demand for information about an individual's pension.
And it shows the potential for a pension dashboard, which encompasses not just state pension entitlements but also information about accrued occupational and private pension rights.
But here lies the snag. Despite the popularity of the online ‘check your state pension' service, the broader dashboard project is now substantially behind schedule - and a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) feasibility study, due to be published in March, has been continually delayed.
Some fear the government will scrap the project altogether - fearing that the project would become a distraction for the DWP at a time when it is working on a number of other substantial projects as well as making preparations for Brexit.
The feasibility study is crucial for the development of a dashboard as it will address some of the critical questions regarding its development - such as how the dashboard will be funded, whether it should be a single or multiple offering, and whether or not compulsion is needed.
Government backing will be crucial for the project's success and, while there are still some difficult questions to answer, the DWP must press ahead with it to give the public confidence in the project in its early stages and deliver a successful dashboard.
Jonathan Stapleton is editor of Professional Pensions
Contact him at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/jonstapleton
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