Blue Knot Complaints Policy and Process

1. Policy Statement


Blue Knot Foundation is committed to the rights of all Blue Knot service users and other relevant stakeholders to complain, compliment or provide feedback.

This policy outlines our commitment and process for enabling the submission and resolution of complaints in a fair and timely manner.

Blue Knot values all complaints, compliments and feedback as they allow us to:

  • Build relationships with our service users and stakeholders
  • Evaluate and improve our programs and services
  • Empower staff to resolve issues fairly and in a timely manner
  • Seek to resolve disputes; and
  • Promote a culture of fairness and professionalism.

Blue Knot Foundation will enhance access to the Complaints Policy for diverse stakeholders.

2. Applicability


This policy applies to all Blue Knot employees, volunteers and placement students, contractors, subcontractors and consultants. For the purpose of this document, the term ‘staff’ is used to individually and collectively refer to the above terms.

As complaints related to Blue Knot’s counselling services require additional considerations, any employee working in a counselling role must read this policy in conjunction with the Service User Complaints Policy.

This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment or part of any contract for service.

3. Principles


Principle Details
Trauma-informed approach
  • Process embeds trauma-informed principles of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment
  • Attuned to diversity
  • Upholds human rights for all parties
  • Inclusive
  • Informed by awareness of the prevalence and impacts of complex trauma including around relationships
  • All complaints will be handled impartially, transparently and follow natural justice
  • All complaints will be treated confidentially, adhering to any privacy legislation
  • No individual or organisation submitting a complaint will be subject to adverse action for exercising their right to complain
  • Our complaints process will be clear and easy to follow
  • We will be respectful and professional in all our interactions
  • All staff will be informed about our complaints policy and process
  • Service users and stakeholders will have easy access to our complaints policy
  • There will be no cost to lodging a complaint
  • We will provide support to minimise barriers for any stakeholder wishing to make a complaint
  • We will acknowledge all complaints on receipt
  • We will keep complainants informed of the complaint’s progress and explain the process to them
  • We aim to resolve all complaints as efficiently as possible and will notify delays, including the reasons to relevant parties
  • Corrective action will be taken when necessary
  • Complaints will inform Blue Knot’s continuous quality improvement processes

4. Workplace Health and Safety


Blue Knot is committed to optimising the health and safety of our staff. If staff members are subjected to any behaviours that threaten their health and safety (for example, abusive language, threats of violence etc.), Blue Knot will take all reasonable and necessary steps to secure their health and safety.

5. Confidentiality


Blue Knot will ensure that complaints are treated confidentially as required by law and process.

6. Use of pseudonym/anonymous complaints


Complaints may be made anonymously or using a pseudonym. However, we may not be able to respond fully and take the desired actions to such complaints.

7. Who can make a complaint?


Any service user or stakeholder can make a complaint. If possible, the complainant is encouraged to discuss the matter with the person who is the subject of the complaint (if applicable). Sometimes this will resolve the complaint without lodging a formal complaint.

Where this is not possible, the complainant may choose to lodge a formal complaint.

8. Formal Complaint Handling Process


Summary of the complaints process

Complaint is received => Complaint is acknowledged => Complaint is assessed => Investigate (where necessary) => Outcome => Complaint is closed


  • Complaint is received

Complaints can be received by counselling staff or the Complaints Officer via the following channels: –

  • Online form on the Blue Knot community website
  • Email: [email protected]Attention: Complaints Officer; or
  • Letter: Attention: Complaints Officer, Blue Knot Foundation, PO Box 597, Milsons Point, NSW 1565; or
  • Phone: 02 8920 3611 and ask for the Complaints Officer
  • If the complaint is about one of our counselling services calling the relevant service:
  • Blue Knot Helpline and Redress Service on 1300 657 380
  • National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 461 428

Please also see additional policy: Counselling Service User Complaints Policy 

  • If you are making a complaint is about the Complaints Officer, please email [email protected] and include the following in the subject line:

Attention: President/ CEO or Deputy CEO


  • Complaint is acknowledged

Blue Knot will acknowledge all complaints within 5 business days and will seek to resolve all complaints within 20 business days of receiving the complaint subject to the complexity and nature of the complaint.


  • Complaint is assessed

The complaint will be assessed and allocated to the appropriate employee to assess and determine the most appropriate steps to resolve the complaint.

For complaints related to the counselling services please also see the Counselling Service Users Complaints Policy for process.

Where the complaint is about a staff member and their conduct, the employee must be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint. Where this occurs the Employee Complaints and Disputes Policy will need to be followed.

Complaints about the Deputy CEO will be escalated to the President/CEO. Complaints about the President/CEO will be escalated to the Chair of the board of directors.

If the complaint, assessment or investigation reveal possible misconduct, malpractice or breach of policy by an employee of Blue Knot, the President/CEO or Deputy CEO and a HR representative must be consulted.


  • Investigation

When an investigation is required, the staff member managing the complaint will undertake a procedurally fair investigation, in consultation with the Complaints Officer as needed.

Where a complaint has been made about a staff member, the staff member will be given an opportunity to respond and provided with the support they need during and after the process.


  • Outcome of the complaint is notified

When the investigation or review is completed the outcome is communicated in writing to the complainant and relevant parties including reasons for the decision and ways of appealing the decision, including external avenues for redress.

The Complaints Officer will monitor and follow-up any actions that are required, as a result of the complaint.


  • Complaint is closed

Once a complainant has been advised of the outcome and any relevant actions have been taken, the complaint will be closed.

Some complainants may decide to lodge a complaint externally with another body such as the Health Care Complaints Commissioner in their state.

9. Evaluation


Blue Knot is committed to evaluating and assessing all complaints and outcomes to inform continual improvement processes.

A review of complaints on the complaints register is undertaken each quarter to identity any systemic issues, themes, or priorities to address.

The President/CEO, Deputy CEO and HR representative are responsible for reviewing all complaints, their process, resolution, and areas for improvement.

10. Records and reporting


Blue Knot will keep accurate and appropriate records of all formal complaints, their outcomes, any actions taken in a complaints’ register. These records will be stored securely, managed and maintained by the Complaints Officer.

Employees will only be able to access the complaints’ register where it is necessary for an employee to discharge their duties.

The Board will review the complaints’ register with de-identified data annually.

The system for managing complaints will ensure that all complaints are referred or notified to other bodies to meet all legislative obligations.

11. Alternative/External options


Complainants also have the right to lodge a complaint externally with the relevant Health Care Complaints Commissioner in their state should they feel the complaint has not been dealt with appropriately.

State Organisation Link
ACT ACT Human Rights Commission Make a complaint here
NSW NSW Health Care Complaints Commission Make a complaint here
Northern Territory Health and Community Services Complaint Commission Make a complaint here
Queensland Office of the Health Ombudsman Make a complaint here
South Australia Health and Community Services Commissioner Make a complaint here
Victoria Health Complaints Commissioner Make a complaint here
Western Australia Health and Disability Services Complaints Office Make a complaint here
Tasmania Health Complaints Commissioner Tasmania Make a complaint here