Shelter Scotland appoints former Auditor General as honorary vice-president

Robert Black CBE (left) and the Reverend Richard Holloway – founder of Shelter Scotland and the only other honorary vice-president

Robert Black CBE (left) and the Reverend Richard Holloway – founder of Shelter Scotland and the only other honorary vice-president

The former Auditor General for Scotland, Robert Black CBE, has been appointed as an honorary vice-president at Shelter Scotland.

The housing and homelessness charity has bestowed the honour in recognition of Robert Black’s role as chair of the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing, which published its final report in 2015, and for his ongoing efforts in promoting the Commission’s work – including the ‘One Year On’ report – and the value of a good home for everyone as a national public policy priority.

The Commission on Housing and Wellbeing was established by Shelter Scotland and published a landmark report – A blueprint for Scotland’s future’ – on the central role that good quality housing should play in enhancing the general wellbeing of people living in Scotland.

The Commission said its report was a call to action on one of the most serious and challenging public policy issues facing Scotland throughout the next decade. The central issue, it said, was the need for new affordable homes to be built but it also called for existing housing to be improved, to eradicate problems like fuel poverty and serious damp.

Ros Micklem, chair of the Shelter Scotland Committee, said: “We are extremely grateful for the contribution Robert Black made as chair of the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing.

“The Commission’s report has been hugely influential in expanding the debate on housing in Scotland to look at the wider wellbeing benefits that come from delivering a safe, secure and affordable home for everyone as well as the significant risks we face as a nation in not meeting this aspiration.

“Robert Black challenged Shelter Scotland to take the Commission’s delivery plan to the heart of our own strategy and to hold the key organisations to account for making serious and significant progress. This has guided us back to our core mission with a new national campaign on homelessness, as we see a worrying lack of progress on tackling this issue which shames Scotland and which should have been consigned to history long ago.”

Commenting on the appointment, Robert Black said: “I thank the Shelter Scotland committee for this award – it’s a great honour.

“Chairing the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing was a hugely rewarding experience. My fellow commissioners and I were set the very challenging task of coming up with a blueprint for Scotland’s future on housing and wellbeing. I believe we came up with an important report which hopefully is driving social change for the better in communities far and wide across Scotland.”

Mr Black is only the second honorary vice president of Shelter Scotland to have been appointed in the charity’s near 50 years of activity in Scotland, joining the Reverend Richard Holloway who helped found the Shelter Scotland campaign in 1968. The title is an honorary lifetime appointment.

Robert Black was Scotland’s first Auditor General, holding the post from 2000 until his retirement in 2012. His current appointments include being a public interest member of ICAS, a lay member of the Court of the University of Edinburgh and a board member of the British Library.