Taking Stock – Black-out at CIPFA conference dinner.

The auditor general for Robert Black is a man of stature indeed.[QQ] In a nation still euphoric at having gained its own parliament, he commands respect as one of the most important men in the public sector. Indeed every finance officer in the Scottish public sector will have heard of the man who will now be scrutinising the accounts of parliamentary departments north of the border. It was fitting then that Bob, as he is affectionately known to friends, should be seated at the top table for dinner at last week’s CIPFA Scottish conference. It was however, a little embarrassing when Tom Cairns, CIPFA Scottish president, forgot the great man was there. Before hundreds of gathered CIPFA members Cairns began introducing the guests of honour at the top table only to miss out Bob when it was his turn. An amused murmur rose from the crowd but Cairns ploughed on unaware of the growing clamour. Finally the murmur turned to belly laughs and Bob, a man keen to please the crowd, stood to take the applause. At last Cairns realised he had an extra dinner guest. It may have been embarrassing for Cairns, to overlook Black at dinner, but let’s hope Scotland’s public sector FDs don’t forget he’s doing the auditing.

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