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The last mile is always the hardest: delivering the pensions dashboard

When implementing any form of digital infrastructure, the last mile that takes the product to the consumer is always the most difficult. This is true for internet provision, electricity and phone lines. It also appears  to be true of the pensions dashboard. But given the millions of savers who stand to lose out without it, this last mile must not be allowed to derail the entire project.

The great distance already covered by the dashboard project is thanks to almost unprecedented collaboration and consensus from across the worlds of pensions, technology, consumer groups, public guidance services and Government departments. The technical feasibility has now been proven. 16 of the largest players in the pensions sector put up the cash necessary to run the HMT-sponsored prototype project and six technology companies provided time and expertise that would otherwise have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The market feasibility has also been proven. A research project has established the strong consumer appetite for a dashboard service, addressed the issues of how to ensure it is trustworthy and appropriately regulated, and set out recommendations for how to turn it into a functioning service.

The baton has been passed back to Government because only they can provide the policy green light, and then legislate. What we saw initially from DWP was promising, they appointed a well-regarded project director and engaged thoroughly with those who had brought the project to this point. This is what we would expect from the largest department in Whitehall. They have the resources to do multiple things at any one time and, given the amount of work already invested in this project, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t proceed rapidly.

But something appears to have triggered second thoughts. An expected feasibility study is now long overdue and reports this week of a reluctance to proceed at all are cause for alarm. The Government has so far failed to provide the necessary reassurance to allay those concerns. Perhaps the prospect of that final mile is giving some cold feet, but the breadth of backing for the pensions dashboard coming from all quarters in the last few days must see that overcome. It’s time for Government to keep its promises and take its first step on that final mile.


Read our response to reports that the Government could be ready to shelve the development of the pensions dashboard here.

Find out more about how the pensions dashboard would work here.

Last updated 19/07/2018