Tribute to Robert Black CBE

20 October 2021
Robert Black CBE, Scotland's first Auditor General

Audit Scotland pays tribute to Robert Black CBE, Scotland's first Auditor General. Bob died on Friday 15 October.

Bob was the first AGS and Audit Scotland's first Accountable Officer, serving from 2000 to 2012. He led Audit Scotland through its creation and establishment as a new organisation in the newly devolved Scotland.

Auditor General for Scotland Stephen Boyle said:

'Bob was passionate about public services and about public audit's role in helping them improve. As Scotland's first Auditor General, Bob helped establish the independence, rigour and relevance of Audit Scotland's work.'

General Caroline Gardner CBE, former Auditor General for Scotland (2012 to 2020), said:

'In the early days of a newly devolved Scottish public sector, Bob helped make sure that public audit's voice was heard in the new Scottish Parliament. He had a clear vision about how audit could help drive the improvement of public services, and that legacy lives on.'

Audit Scotland's chief operation officer Diane McGiffen said:

'We are sad to lose both a key person in Scottish public life and a terrific former colleague. As well as a dedicated public servant over a lengthy career, Bob was also a devoted family man who was committed to his late wife and children and always incredibly proud of his grandchildren.'

Chair of the Accounts Commission Elma Murray said:

'Bob made a significant contribution to Scottish public life, and through his work and leadership he demonstrated the value of public audit to the public services that Scotland's communities rely on.'


Prior to his appointment as AGS, Bob had a lengthy career in Scotland's public sector. This included as Controller of Audit for the Accounts Commission (1995-2000), Chief Executive of Tayside Regional Council (1990-1995) and Chief Executive of Stirling Council (1985-1990).

After retiring from the AGS post in 2012, he served as a board member of the British Library, a court member of the University of Edinburgh and the University of Stirling, a member of the Council of ICAS, an honorary vice-president of Shelter Scotland, and an honorary member of CIPFA.

Born in Banff, Aberdeenshire, Bob was educated at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon's College, then the University of Aberdeen, where he graduated with an MA (Hons) in Economics. He also earned Masters degrees in Town Planning from Heriot-Watt University and in Public Policy from the University of Strathclyde.

Bob received a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours, and had Honorary Doctorates in Law from the University of Aberdeen, and in Business Administration from Queen Margaret University. He was an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.