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What Participants Want: The Data

New research to help you focus on the needs of your customers and market at large.

By Sara Gingold

Updated 15 Apr 202412 Jan 2021

A key undertaking of all providers in the NDIS, regardless of the supports you deliver, is to gain an understanding of the participants you support and what disability services they value. Of course, there is a strong business incentive to do this, lest your customers walk out the door. But, more importantly, most providers set up shop because they want to actually make a difference in people’s lives and you cannot make a difference if you do not thoroughly understand what people want. 

Software provider GoodHuman partnered with the Evolved Group to research what people value when purchasing disability supports. They interviewed 700 participants and their family members across the country. We found the results very interesting, and we reckon you will too. Here are the highlights:



The research suggests that participants are definitely willing to walk away from services that do not meet their needs. Many are actively seeking new providers or have done so in the recent past. Of the respondents: 

  • 1 in 5 are currently looking for a new provider
  • 53% have looked for a new provider in the past 12 months
  • 63% would consider changing providers if other providers were easier to find
  • 34% of the people who have been in the Scheme for more than 3 years are looking for a new support organisation because they are unhappy with their current provider 



The research identified the top 3 things that participants value in a provider: 

  1. ‘Staff that are competent and trustworthy’ / ‘A reputation for delivering high-quality service’
  2. ‘Availability of services at a suitable time’
  3. ‘Help identifying the services I qualify for’

The research found that people who reported having a positive experience with a provider often attributed this to an exceptional support worker or service. They also preferred providers who helped them understand what services they can access through their plan.  

People also value clear communications and responsiveness from their providers. 

For families of children under 18, availability of services is the primary factor when selecting providers. 70% of such families identify this as their biggest driver, compared to 44% of adult participants and their families. This makes sense when you consider the average composition of a child’s plan, which tends to be much more focused on therapeutic supports that are notoriously low in supply.

Of note, cost does not appear to be a driving factor. Most participants consider the cost of services as the NDIA’s domain. Only 3% rank cost as a more important factor than quality.  



Unsurprisingly, people are less than thrilled with the time and energy that goes into managing their NDIS services. 26% of participants said that managing their services takes up ‘a huge amount of my time!’ Unfortunately, 55% of respondents reported spending more time researching services than they do on personal activities they enjoy. However, the good news is that with experience in the Scheme, the time spent researching services decreases. 29% of people who have been in the Scheme for four years reported spending no time looking for services, compared to 17% overall. 

67% of respondents wished it was easier to access services. 

These findings show that there is a clear business incentive to simplify the process of finding and receiving support. There are important learnings here for providers looking to grow their business or retain the customers you have—so probably all of you! 

 You can read the full GoodHuman’s report here.


Sara Gingold

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