Using people-centred evidence to shape policy strategy and implementation: New approaches to data analysis and stakeholder co-design from the Department of Social Services

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, 1115 – 1235

Abstract
The Department of Social Services’ mission is to improve the lifetime wellbeing of people in families in Australia. This mission is reflected in the Department’s recognition that community engagement and co-design are critical to properly understanding need and developing targeted programs, and a first step is a shared and clearly articulated understanding of need. The Department’s emerging data analytics and modelling capability will enable richer policy insights to compliment and support this focus on engagement and codesign in the production of a more outcomes focussed and people centred evidence base.

The implementation of the Priority Investment Approach to Welfare and associated the Try Test and Learn fund to deliver effective and innovative policy interventions to address long term welfare dependency, highlights many of these challenging issues. Early lessons from the implementation of the initial tranche of TTL projects will be discussed, together with the Department’s approach to monitoring and evaluation.

As a department that is responsible for providing social services and support programs to Australians, we need a stronger understanding of why Australians, particularly vulnerable Australians, make the decisions they do (for example around education, employment, caring, and retirement) and how our policies, payments, and programs affect them. To do this we develop and draw on research so we have the evidence and the big and forward looking picture we need to improve people’s outcomes.

The common theme of our work is effective investment in better outcomes for individuals and families. Measuring need and identifying the barriers to better outcomes that government can influence is a high priority.

In this symposium, we present the approaches we are taking to:
 think about need,
 identify existing resources,
 understand the influence of overlapping policy landscapes, and
 identify the role of government,
to support better policy and program design.

The symposium will highlight the opportunities provided by data analytics, stakeholder co-design, policy experimentation and innovative investment approaches that are critical in responding to a complex policy environment.