James Purnell, minister for pensions reform, has confirmed details of a delivery authority for personal accounts will be announced in a separate white paper to be published in the first week of December.
Speaking at the release of a summary of responses to the white paper on pensions reform - hosted by the Social Market Foundation - Purnell revealed further details on personal accounts, including the government’s favoured model choice, would be published in the first week of December.
In addition, he says the white paper - originally planned as a technical paper - will set out the government’s intention to establish a delivery authority which will be “an independent body designed to manage the necessary contracting processes and will enable the government to bring in the skills of the private sector with some degree of autonomy in the decision making process”.
However, in answer to a question from Stephen Haddrill, director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Purnell confirmed the authority would not be a regulator but more of a “deliverer”.
He says: “The best way to describe it would be to look at the television industry where OfCom is the equivalent to the Pensions Regulator or the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the delivery authority would be more like the BBC or Channel 4.”
But he adds how the body would evolve, once the personal accounts system was in place, would depend on the model which is chosen as he suggests there would be different methods of evolution depending on whether it is a National Pension Savings Scheme (Npss) system, an industry model or one of the hybrids put forward in the responses.
Purnell says while the regulatory boundaries surrounding personal accounts would be included in the white paper, he revealed the government is interested in different views as to what the duties of a delivery authority should be, and at what stage it should be completely independent to merely advise the government.
Within the 100-page summary of responses, the government states it is looking at the possibility of “taking powers to establish the delivery authority in the forthcoming Pensions Bill, subject to any announcement in the Queen’s Speech”.
But it says while the authority would be an independent body, “set up to take forward work on developing the structure of personal accounts and managing the contracting process for providers of outsourced services”, the summary also warns the government will specify the authority’s role and will “hold it to account for the delivery of its objectives”.
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