Exploring people’s experiences of providing and receiving disability support services via digital platforms

People with disability are increasingly presented with options to access support services using online platforms such as Hireup, Kynd and Mable. This model of ‘on-demand’ services (also called platform-mediated work) is now widely used in transport (for example Uber, Deliveroo) and other sectors relating to employment (for example, Airtasker).

Why are we doing this research?

This study aims to contribute to policy development by examining the implications of platform-mediated work in disability support services, for both building a skilled professional workforce and providing quality, accountable support services.

Platform-mediated work is portrayed by some as offering benefits to workers through increased choice about workdays and hours and promoting work–life balance. Others are concerned that it drives down wages and deprives people of employment-related entitlements and protections. 

For people with disability, there is a risk that the quality of support given is not guaranteed. There are concerns about  screening requirements for support workers, as well as calls for accountability to the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. be more consistent between registered and unregistered providers. As it stands, digital platforms are not obliged to be registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. 

With online platforms being used to provide support services to people with disability, it is critical to explore the implications for both support providers and recipients.

Study overview

This small exploratory project has two components:

  • a desktop scan of the current knowledge of platform-mediated models for providing support services and the relevant policy landscape both in Australia and internationally
  • interviews exploring the experiences of people with disability and support workers.

Contact Andrew Thies




By Andrew Thies, Deborah Warr and Georgia Katsikis 2023

How are online platforms affecting support workers’ conditions and the quality of support available to people with disability?

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