Working under the NDIS: insights from a survey of employees in disability services

Disability insurance Community sector Employment National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Australia

This report analyses information from almost 1,500 disability service workers. It explores their characteristics and perceptions of their working conditions; their experiences of working under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); and their concerns about the implementation of the Scheme and its impact on their working lives.

Overall, these findings provide insight into the characteristics and experiences of workers in the disability service sector and in particular, their experiences of working under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. While differences between those working under the NDIS and other disability workers were not consistently evident, the results show a range of quality and workforce risks of the Scheme. While workers' primary concerns were with falling standards of service for people with disability, the survey also shows workforce problems such as high supervisory loads under the NDIS, multiple job holding, and major concerns about job quality, work time and financial security. Moreover, the regression analysis suggests that for this sample of highly experienced workers at least, decent pay and job security are associated with higher perceptions of outcomes for NDIS participants. The findings indicate the importance of working conditions in the disability sector, and the links between working conditions and the quality of service provision.

The results suggest some ways forward, including keeping supervisory loads at reasonable levels, and ensuring experienced workers are retained in the transition to the NDIS. This could be built on with an ongoing and ideally longitudinal program of research, to monitor workforce issues and working conditions in the disability sector through the process of change, and to assess the impact of interventions to improve working conditions and workforce quality and sustainability as a determinant of high quality disability services.

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