Rob worked on international public service reform and standards in public life during service in the UK Cabinet Office. Through the transition to a democratic South Africa, Rob prepared liberation movement cadres for senior public service postings and briefed the Constitutional Assembly on public service provisions in the new Constitution. Rob was personally thanked by President Nelson Mandela for these contributions to the construction of a post-apartheid public service in South Africa.
Rob served as Secretary to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, an independent, arms-length body advising the Prime Minister on ethics and public service standards. He left the Civil Service on being appointed Complaints Commissioner to the Bar Standards Board in England and Wales. He then became Independent Adjudicator (Ombudsman) for Higher Education in England and Wales (2008-16). Rob was awarded a CBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for his services to higher education.
Rob is Vice-Chair of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI, Europe), a member of the IOI World Board, and Chair of Governors at ARU Peterborough. He has been Vice-Chair of the Ombudsman Association (UK and Ireland), and Chair of the European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education (ENOHE). Rob has published and broadcast widely on Ombudsman reform. Publications include Being an Ombudsman in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (ENOHE, Vienna, 2017), and The Art of the Ombudsman: leadership through international crisis, (IOI, Manchester, May 2021). Rob is a lifetime supporter of Manchester City FC.