NEWS   |    March 17, 2022

Our response to the DWP’s consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022

The Department for Work and Pensions launched a consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022. These draft regulations make provision for requirements to be met by pension dashboard services and cover data, find and view, connection, staging, compliance and enforcement of pensions dashboards.

The regulations do not yet cover the detail of how this is to be provided, which will depend on the critical lessons and sharing from participants in an ongoing “alpha” phase of testing which is due to run for 6 months through until June this year. The consultation closed to responses on 13 March 2022 and the DWP said its aim is to lay the regulations before Parliament for debate later this year.

Our comments on the consultation are detailed below:

We welcome the Pensions Dashboards and commend the objective to support better planning for retirement.

While we accept that data simplification is essential for dashboards to work, we also note this has consequential implications for accuracy. We think it is essential that individuals are made aware that the values provided are indicative only.

We strongly feel that pension schemes and dashboard providers must be protected by mandatory standard-form disclaimers and regulations limiting liability: they should not be exposed to liability for actions taken, or not taken, by savers relying on dashboard values.

In addition, we think that user experience testing should include not only what users understand today, but also imagined backward-looking ‘at retirement’ scenarios, to ensure that the dashboards framework is resilient to real-world events.

How will this impact Trustees?

Trustees will be dependent on their third-party administrators for connection, matching, and data provision. We welcome the staging approach, which should mean that administrators will have lead cases they can learn from.

Our response

Our response drilled down into specific regulations and some potential unintended legal points presented in the drafting. These comments related mainly to:

(i) whether the regulations draw the dividing line between member types in the right place – the term “active member” which has a particular legal meaning not necessarily intended in the drafting.

(ii) provision of administrative data (normal pension age), contextual info and additional info (explicit flags).

What’s next?

There will be revised draft regulations in July 2022 with final regulations expected to be laid in October 2022, six months before the onset of duties in April 2023, with first staging dates in July 2023. (In other words, there is still plenty more to come!) The first step for schemes is to work out their staging date, on the schedule currently proposed.

The views in this article are intended for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice. Arc Pensions Law and the author(s) are not responsible for any direct or indirect result arising from any reliance placed on content, including any loss, and exclude liability to the full extent. Always seek appropriate legal advice from a suitably qualified lawyer before taking, or avoiding taking, any action. If you have any questions on the points raised in the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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