The pensions dashboard: architecture and delivery
Earlier this year, the UK government set out its plans for the architecture and delivery of the pensions dashboard project.
Liz Duffy explores the practical steps being taken to bring dashboard services to pension savers.
Architecture, data and security
Industry will design, develop and implement a government-owned dashboard and industry owned dashboards, including the technical infrastructure to make these a reality.
A dashboard ecosystem is to provide the link between member data held by pension schemes and pension providers and pension savers seeking to view information about their pension savings in one place.
The architectural design of the ecosystem is intended to ensure that:
- Users’ personal data is secure.
- The service has sufficient data processing capacity to meet demand.
- Data is processed to agreed standards.
The ecosystem comprises several elements:
- User-facing dashboards.
- Providers of pensions data – pension schemes, providers of contact based arrangements and the UK government.
- A user Identity Service.
- A Pension Finder Service (PFS).
- A Governance Register.
The UK government has proposed the following ecosystem with the final ecosystem to be determined by a Pensions Dashboard Industry Delivery Group.
How the dashboard ecosystem will operate
The user will request pension information through any of the dashboards via the user Identity Service.
The Identity Service will allow the user to verify their identity so they can access the ecosystem. Authentication gives user consent to the providers of pension data and assurance to the provider that data is being delivered to the correct user.
Once the user’s identity has been verified, the PFS will act like a search engine to find the pension savings linked to them. The PFS will only operate as a search facility to enhance data security so data will not be returned to the user via the PFS. Instead, data will be returned via the dashboard thus reducing the value of the PFS to potential hackers.
Before the providers of pension data can return data to users, they must be connected to the pensions ecosystem. They can interface directly or utilise the services of an Integrated Service Provider, for example, if they do not have the systems capability or resources in-house.
The UK government has signalled its intention make State Pension data available to the dashboard but this is not expected to be available initially. In the interim the Check Your State Pension service can be used.
The Governance Register will ensure that the different parts of the ecosystem meet certain standards and requirements. It is a technical service intended to ensure the different elements of the ecosystem operate correctly and can talk to each other. The providers of pension data will be responsible for the quality of data provided to the ecosystem.
A Pensions Dashboard Industry Delivery Group will bring together people from across industry and from the regulators to deliver both the non-commercial dashboard and commercial dashboards.
Governance arrangements for the Delivery Group are being developed by the DWP in conjunction with the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS).
It is anticipated that the next phase of the dashboards project will be largely funded by industry through the Financial Services Levy and General Levy on pension schemes. The costs of delivering State Pension data to the dashboards will be borne by the DWP.
With the support of the DWP and MAPS, the Delivery Group is to:
- Develop a road map for delivering the digital architecture for the ecosystem.
- Develop data standards for the ecosystem.
- Design a robust governance and security framework to enable information to be supplied by pension data providers to savers via dashboards.
On a voluntary basis, Financial Conduction Authority (FCA) authorised firms will develop commercial dashboards compatible with the parameters established by the Delivery Group.
Chris Curry, Director at the Pensions Policy Institute, has been appointed as Principal of the Delivery Group.