Developing and delivering Midlife MOTs


Developing and delivering Midlife MOTs

Midlife MOTs are a relatively new initiative aimed at providing information and opportunities to adults in their midlife and mid-career; to consider their skills, financial security, wellbeing and future retirement planning

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Midlife MOTs are a relatively new initiative aimed at providing information and opportunities to adults in their midlife and mid-career; to consider their skills, financial security, wellbeing and future retirement planning. The name comes from the former Ministry of Transport (MOT) test that ensures a vehicle's roadworthiness, but the aim is to support and reassure participants about options available to them.

After launching a pilot in 2022, Phoenix Group is now amongst the first organisations to offer an MOT to its staff. To understand the impact of the pilot and Midlife MOTs more generally, Phoenix Insights commissioned the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) to conduct an evidence scan and evaluation of the pilot. This involved in-depth qualitative research, interviews with pilot participants, internal stakeholders, and wider experts on Midlife MOTs.

This report as well alongside a shorter employer guide, outlines the insights from the original research as well as existing evidence. Based on these insights and BIT’s expertise in behavioural science, the report offers recommendations for potential MOT providers and policy makers to improve the uptake and effectiveness of the intervention in the future.

History of Midlife MOTs

Other initiatives aimed at people in midlife have been previously delivered such as ‘Mid Life Career Reviews’ focusing on work and skills, or NHS midlife health checks. But the concept of a holistic Midlife MOT covering health, wealth and work was first recommended in John Cridland’s review of the State Pension Age in 2017, with the aim of supporting people in the context of rising state pension ages. Following this, a few organisations in both private and public sectors across the UK began developing various MOT offerings aimed at people in midlife. These often included elements of self-assessment, information provision, and nudge to action.


In 2021 the Department for Work and Pension invested £5 million to expand their Midlife MOT offering online, within jobcentres, and through trials with private sector partners. DWP also developed an enhanced digital Midlife MOT tool with the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). In Summer 2023, they launched their free Midlife MOT website to help people prepare for later life and retirement.

Our recommendations

Our evidence shows that MOTs can help to build confidence and in shifting participants’ thinking about retirement. But this can be a busy time in life for many people, and so a Midlife MOT needs to be relevant, timely and useful for people to take follow up action. For those interested in offering or promoting the initiative, we recommend:

For MOT providers

  • Introduce and pilot elements of the Midlife MOT as part of an existing employee support package: As a start, employers can review their existing offer to include some elements of an MOT, and consider co-designing the programme to ensure it is suitable engaging for participants.
  • Prompt action through facilitating access to support: Encourage repeated use of the MOT and nudge follow up through an action plan, and signpost or provide access to suitable support (e.g. financial guidance) if possible.
  • Iterate, evaluate, and publish: MOT should be seen as a live initiative, designed for ongoing evaluation and insights collection, to enable continuous improvement. 

For government

  • Widen the provision and coverage of Midlife MOTs
    • Encourage companies, potentially through working with trade bodies, to promote and use Midlife MOTs, and share best practice.
    • Offer support and access to off-the-shelf/open-source MOTs particularly for smaller organisations with financial or resource constraints.
    • Improve and expand the DWP in-person Midlife MOT services, sharing knowledge across the public, private and third sector providers.
    • Monitor usage and seek to make iterative improvements to the newly launched Midlife MOT website. 
    • When necessary, review existing regulations and legislations to ensure the quality of guidance and/or advice provided through MOTs. 
  • Develop a holistic plan for MOTs and better integrate existing services across different departments. For example, work related support could be expanded beyond Jobcentre Plus to cover career and skills review to meet the needs of midlife workers. More evidence is needed to whether the three focus areas (work, finance, health) are appropriate, and whether similar approach can be more readily applied on other major life transitions, such as school-to-work transition or parental leave. 
  • Share research and evaluation findings. Longitudinal research should be conducted on MOT’s impact on financial, career and health choices, as well as users’ overall wellbeing, productivity, work satisfaction and retention.