Pensions Dashboard hit by digital delays

A recent report found that the delays in the delivery of the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) were due to a shortage of digital skills and governance issues, according to the national spending watchdog.

The report, produced by the National Audit Office (NAO) after a year-long investigation, found that there were “capacity and capability issues” in the rollout of the programme.  

Now almost eight years on from the initial proposition, and still with no official release date set for the public launch of the Pensions Dashboards Programme, the NAO report has detailed a range of delivery problems for the project. So far, an estimated £54 million more of tax-payer’s money has been used to help deal with these unexpected delivery problems, and the figure is only rising as the delays continue.  

The Pensions Dashboards Programme  

First proposed by the Government back in 2016, the Pensions Dashboards Programme was intended to allow individuals to see their own pensions information – state, workplace and personal – for free in one place online. The programme was also intended to help reunite savers with lost or forgotten pensions, whose combined value totals over £19 billion as of 2023.  
With the ability to access information easily it was hoped that the service would increase individuals’ awareness and understanding of their pension information and that it could support people with better planning for their retirement. 

What did the NAO report show about the delays? 

The report found numerous factors contributing to the delays that cast the organisation and management of the development of the Pensions Dashboard Programme in an unfavourable light.

The report outlined that in 2019, the Department for Work and Pensions delegated responsibility for delivering the programme, or the digital architecture to make Dashboards work, to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). However, the DWP did not have assurances at the outset that MaPS had the capability and capacity to deliver a major digital project as the Pensions Dashboards Programme was forecasted to be.

In December 2022, MaPS informed DWP that the PDP’s delivery timetable was no longer viable. A subsequent review carried out by 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.

As the delays and issues in development pile up, the cost of the programme, and by extension the cost on the taxpayer, rises in equal measure. The NAO investigation also found that estimated cost of the Pensions Dashboard Programme had risen from £235m in 2020 to £289m in 2023, an increase of 23%. 

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, commented on the findings. 

Delivery delays due to shortfalls in digital capacity and capability have pushed back the final deadline for pension providers and schemes to connect to the Pensions Dashboard Programme by a year, with no date currently set for citizens to benefit.” 

With no official date in sight, it is unknown when, if ever, taxpayers will be able to access the Pensions Dashboard Programme that they have been waiting for – and paying for – for over eight years.

If you’d like to discuss your own retirement options why not contact us for a free initial consultation to see how we can help.  

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This article is intended for general information only, it does not constitute individual advice and should not be used to inform financial decisions.