Try, Test and Learn Fund

The first cycle of the Try, Test and Learn Fund was open from 9 December 2016 to 5pm AEDT on 24 February 2017.

In the first instance, the Government sought ideas on how to help people who may be at risk of being on welfare for the long term to find, retain and flourish in long-term employment. Priority groups for this cycle are young carers, young parents and young students at risk of long-term unemployment.

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The Try, Test and Learn Fund will support trials of new or innovative policy responses to help people live independently of welfare. The Fund will seek to support groups who have the capacity to work and are at risk of long-term welfare dependence. It will also help to ensure that Australia’s safety net remains sustainable for future generations.

As announced in the 2016-17 Federal Budget, the Try, Test and Learn Fund is the Government’s first response to the Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare. It will help to achieve the objectives of welfare reform and the Priority Investment Approach in developing a modern, relevant and flexible welfare system.

The Try, Test and Learn Fund is not a standard Government funding round and is driven by an outcomes-focused commissioning approach to policy development. Ideas will be welcomed from the community sector, government, academics, business, individuals and other groups, including partnerships between these stakeholders.

The Fund’s submission process has been designed to be accessible, transparent, collaborative, and supportive of new and innovative approaches. The most suitable ideas will progress to a process of co development, the selection of a delivery partner, and then delivery and evaluation. Users and communities will be central to the design and delivery of Try, Test and Learn Fund policies.

Another central focus of the Try, Test and Learn Fund is the generation of new insights and empirical evidence into ‘what works’ to reduce long term welfare dependence. The delivery of each Try, Test and Learn Fund policy will test an hypothesis about how we can change behaviours, pathways or systems to improve workforce participation. The impact of Try, Test and Learn Fund policy responses will be monitored using a range of evaluation methods to garner these insights. The lessons learned will be used to inform and improve Government policy.

The Fund is expected to open for ideas several times over multiple years, allowing organisations and individuals additional opportunities to submit proposals. This flexible and iterative policy design process aligns with the Government’s innovation agenda.

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