Under the NDIS and its driving principles of ‘choice and control’ for people with disability, new websites that directly connect workers and clients are springing up. A bit like Uber and Air B&B, they can offer both convenience and flexibility to all concerned. NDS was keen to understand what users made of them.
Late last year, we asked people on the carecareers job board to talk to NDS about whether they were doing freelance disability work through these platforms, and what their experience was like.
We are very grateful to those who responded. People’s insights were very interesting. Several people said that websites like this could be a handy way of finding extra hours of work for part-timers – hours that they weren’t able to get from their current employer.
They also felt flexibility and control were the main advantages. A parent, who had to look after children, said she could pick up a few hours here and there. Flexibility for clients was also commented on, for example, a client who only needs a carer for one hour on a Sunday. One interviewee found that it would work well for her, as she was working 15 hours a week and could do with some more hours. As put by another interviewee, ‘you’re only tied to the workload you want.’
Having more freedom to support clients in a person-centred way was another benefit. One person said: ‘it feels like actually working for that person and for that family – not having to follow strict rules and regulations of service organisations.’
However, several people felt that the platforms weren’t as easy to use as it seemed. Some said the sign-up questions were complex and uploading documents awkward. One person had ‘given up on platforms’ and found that they had more luck finding extra work through their own reputation, Facebook network and word-of-mouth.
They were also concerned about how accessible and safe the sites were for service-users. People were concerned about whether checks were done thoroughly, and some felt connecting with someone unknown through a website is ‘fraught with danger’.
Three interviewees spoke about the stability and protection of working for an organisation. As one interviewee said, ‘when working for company, you get a good roster, regular clients – you don’t necessarily have that when you’re a sole trader or working casually – if they don’t need you, you don’t get paid.’
This is a quickly changing field. NDS will continue to monitor how the digital world of disability evolves over time.
If you have any comments or questions please contact;
Caroline Alcorso on 0422 457 002
National Disability Services (NDS)
Disability work websites come in all shapes and sizes. But there are two main types:
1. Matching platforms, like Hireup, Better Caring, Home Care Heroes and Care Support Network (we identified ten). These let people with disability connect with potential support workers, often on the basis of passion and interests as well as previous experience or qualifications.
2. Ratings sites or service directories, where people with disability can check out services and see reviews about them.