Support online: user experiences of digital platforms in the NDIS market

Andrew Thies, Deborah Warr and Georgia Katsikis

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

At a glance

This study found that digital platforms can offer increased choice and control over their support to people with disability. However, reforms to the regulatory environment and funding for workforce development are needed to achieve the best outcomes for workers and people with disability.

Dive deeper

The introduction of the NDIS and individual funding for people with disability is driving the growth of digital platforms in the Australian service landscape. People with disability can now choose providers of support services, by accessing profiles created and posted on the digital platforms by individual support workers.

This project involved interviews with platform users (support workers, people with disability and their carers) and a desktop scan on the state of knowledge of platform work in the NDIS market and others. It explored working conditions (such as pay, training and incident management) and the choice and control offered for people with disability.

Bringing these insights together we found:

  • platforms are offering people with disability increased choice and control in how, when and by whom support is delivered
  • regulatory frameworks are not sufficiently protecting platform workers and people with disability who engage them
  • NDIS pricing for support work doesn’t cover the full costs of the service, including the provision of worker training. This is contributing to a poorly trained workforce, jeopardising the quality of care.

Based on these findings we recommend:

  1. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission should pursue regulatory options for unregistered digital platforms.
  2. Government should pursue updates to Australia’s industrial relations regime to clarify the roles and responsibilities of platforms to workers listed on them.
  3. Further investment is needed in development of the support workforce, including employment-based training models.

Last updated on 22 June 2023