Challenges, opportunities and implications: Early lessons from Try, Test and Learn investments

Using people-centered evidence to shape policy strategy and implementation: new approaches to data analysis and stakeholder co-design from the Department of Social Services
Friday 27 July, 1215 – 1235


Tim Reddel
Department of Social Services

The Australian Government’s $96.1 million Try, Test and Learn Fund (TTL) enables the government to finance trials of new or innovative policy responses for groups of people at risk of long-term welfare dependency. These responses will aim to assist some of the most vulnerable in society into stable, sustainable employment.

Trends such as globalisation, automation, the emergence of the gig economy, as well as technological and societal changes mean that labour markets are changing across in every country. What has worked in Australia to help the most disadvantaged to get into the workforce in the past may not work in the current or future labour market.
Selection of innovative projects under TTL is being based, in part, on the value of the evidence that they are likely to generate. Projects will be robustly evaluated to produce high-quality policy evidence about the effectiveness of interventions, for whom, and under what circumstances. In this way, the fund will allow the government to identify approaches that work, and use this evidence to transform our investment in existing programs or make the case for new investments.

This session will outline how TTL provides a new model for conceptualising public investment. It will provide an overview of how TTL looks outside the confines of government for innovative approaches, and ensures broad stakeholder engagement, including those targeted for support who often have no direct way to communicate with government. It will also discuss how the early focus on evaluation, with an eye to generating a firm evidence base of what works, is unfolding.