The pensions industry is suffering from “dashboard fatigue”. There seems to be another delay at every stage of this project, including almost a year of lost time when the Department for Work and Pensions appeared to be on the brink of pulling the plug.
Now we have another hold-up as we await a pensions bill which will make it mandatory for schemes and providers to supply data to the dashboard. And even when that legislation has completed its passage through parliament, there will be another three to four years before all schemes are required to participate.
We need to give the dashboard project a shot in the arm that will enable it to regain public trust and credibility.
I have a simple suggestion to put the project back on track. It is one I will be sharing with the highly respected Pensions Policy Institute head Chris Curry, who is now going to be the “dashboard tsar” charged with driving it forward.
One of the biggest selling points around the dashboard is that it will help unite people with their lost pension pots. Many will have worked for multiple firms and built up multiple workplace pension pots, as well as individual pension savings.
Very often, it can be hard to keep track of these pensions, especially as former employers go bust or get taken over, or as pension providers and administrators are changed, renamed and merged.
Scheme members themselves move house or change their name, which further adds to the problem of matching people to pots. A huge prize therefore would be to deliver a simple list to each citizen of all the pension rights they hold.
One thing that will delay the production of such a list on a dashboard is the need to present pension values. For instance, it may require considerable work for defined benefit schemes to produce up-to-date valuations of rights for their millions of deferred members; work which they might not have otherwise done until the individual reached retirement.
But what schemes could do much more quickly is supply a list of scheme members, identifiable just by name, date of birth and National Insurance number. This would not be perfect, but would be far easier to compile than up-to-date valuations.
People would be queueing up to visit the dashboard to find out what they had got. Before long, many hundreds of thousands would be reunited with lost pots, some of which would be relatively large.
Soon, there would be positive stories about people finding missing pensions, and the dashboard would become a destination website as information was added. Contrast that with the current scepticism and weariness over the project.
There would, of course, be much more to be done once this initial list had been constructed.
But the good will and momentum this two-stage process might generate would help to ensure the project was seen as a success.
Steve Webb is director of policy at Royal London
You can follow him on Twitter @stevewebb1