The UK pension reforms (1997-2015)

The Turner Commission reforms to the UK pension system, enacted through legislation in 2007 and 2008 and rolled out from 2012 onwards, are regarded globally as a case study in how policy should be made. Some information regarding the reforms is starting to be lost: some items and documents such as the full Pensions Commission website are no longer available, while other information is still there but hard to find. Over time, we want to support efforts to ensure this information is preserved, and to add to it with previously unavailable documents and content. As a first step towards this, we’ve collaborated with the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath on an innovative oral history project.

About the project

We worked with the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath to bring together existing information and share the previously private recollections of key decision-makers involved in the reforms through a series of video interviews.

Together we published a new report, Pension Reforms in the UK: 1997 to 2015 (PDF), and created a summary video from across the project:

Video interviews

The full series of video interviews is available to watch on the Nest Insight YouTube channel.

Interview participants

Tony Blair; UK Prime Minister (1997-2007)

Gordon Brown; UK Chancellor (1997-2007), UK Prime Minister (2007-2010)
Lord Turner of Ecchinswell; Chairman of the Pensions Commission (2002-06)
Baroness Jeannie Drake; Member of the Pensions Commission (2002-06)
Professor Sir John Hills; Member of the Pensions Commission (2002-06)
Lord Blunkett of Brightside; Secretary of State for Work & Pensions (2005)
Lord Hutton of Furness; Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2005-07)
Sir Steve Webb; Minister of State for Pensions (2010-15)
Lord David Willetts; Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions (1999-2005)

Gareth Davies; Deputy Director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (2002-2003), Private Secretary at Number 10 (2003-2007)

David Halpern; Chief Analyst at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (2001-2007), current Chief Executive Officer Behavioural Insight team

Carey Oppenheim; Special Adviser to the Prime Minister at Number 10 (2000-2005)

Matthew Taylor, CBE FAcSS; Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister, (2005-2007), current Chief Executive Officer of the RSA

Helen Dean, CBE; Director of Product and Policy Development at PADA (2009-2010), current Chief Executive Officer of Nest Corporation

Tim Jones, CBE; Chief Executive Officer of PADA (2007-2010), Chief Executive Officer of Nest Corporation (2010-2015)

Robert Laslett, CBE; Chief Economist Pensions and Director of Private Pensions at the DWP (2003-2010)

Phil Wynn Owen; Director-General for Strategy, Information & Pensions at the DWP (2004-2009)

Caroline Rookes, CBE; Director of Private Pensions at the DWP (2005-2013)

Chris Curry; Director of the Pensions Policy Institute

Joanne Segars, CBE; Head of Pensions and Savings at the ABI (2001-2005), Chief Executive Officer of the PLSA (2006-2017)

Nigel Stanley; Head of Communications at the TUC (1997-2015)

Otto Thoresen; Chief Executive Officer of Aegon UK (2005-2011), Director General at the ABI (2011-2015), current Chair of Nest Corporation, Chairman of BT Pension Scheme

Nicholas Timmins; Public Policy Editor and Commentator at the Financial Times (1996-2012)

Professor Shlomo Benartzi; Professor of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Professor David Laibson; Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Professor Hugh Pemberton; Professor of Contemporary British History, University of Bristol

Project partners

The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) University of Bath, aim to further the public good through research into issues of significant relevance to policy debate and decision-making, build links with the worlds of policy and practice, and increase public understanding of policy research through its public events and publications.

They deliver activities for policymakers, researchers and practitioners to enable dual learning and original contributions to both research and practice. To find out more, visit: bath.ac.uk/ipr

Further research and information