11 October 2023

First evaluation partnership for the Australian Centre for Evaluation

The Albanese Government established the Australian Centre for Evaluation (ACE) to help put evaluation evidence at the heart of policy design and decision‑making. It will improve the volume, quality, and impact of evaluations across the Australian government, and will work in close collaboration with evaluation units in other departments and agencies.

I can announce today that the ACE has entered into its first partnership agreement to support high-quality impact evaluations. This partnership will be with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and will use randomised controlled trials to evaluate different features of online employment services.

This partnership agreement is the first step, and we will provide further details on these trials when they are further advanced, but the intention is that they will commence in 2024.

All planned trials will be subject to ethics review, consistent with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

The evaluation partnership reflects the Government’s commitment in its recent Employment White Paper – ‘Working Future’ – to improve employment services by ‘implementing changes in an evidence-based way that applies learnings from evaluations and accounts for the needs of local labour markets and individuals’.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has a long history of conducting evaluations of employment programs, including online employment services. The trials to be conducted under this evaluation partnership build on this existing work and experience.

This evaluation partnership reflects the ACE’s role in championing high-quality impact evaluations, such as randomised trials. The Centre will also:

  • promote the Commonwealth Evaluation Policy and help to ensure evaluation is considered at all stages of the policy cycle
  • embed high-quality evaluation planning and consistent use of evaluation evidence in Budget and Cabinet decision-making processes
  • oversee efforts to improve evaluation capability across the Australian government, including the creation of an APS Evaluation Profession, paralleling existing professional streams on human resources, data and digital

Quotes attributable to the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Dr Andrew Leigh:

“The Albanese Government is committed to improving the quality of evaluation across government. By carrying out high-quality evaluations, including randomised trials, we can identify which programs are most effective, and make government more productive. This particularly matters for vulnerable Australians, who rely on government programs the most.

“The Australian Centre for Evaluation will save taxpayers money and improve the quality of government programs, starting with these evaluations of employment services programs.”


More information about the Australian Centre for Evaluation is available at its website.