Parents kept in dark over Aberdeen baby ashes scandal report

Bereaved parents will be kept in the dark about the actions of council staff involved in the baby ashes scandal at Aberdeen Crematorium.

Corey Walker's son George was cremated at a Aberdeen City Council-run crematorium. She was told there were no remains to give back to her. Picture: Hemedia

A report will be presented to councillors today outlining what action needs to be taken in the wake of Dame Elish Angiolini’s damning findings in June.

The former Lord Advocate’s scathing report into the cremations scandal highlighted “unethical and abhorrent” practices that took place at the Aberdeen City Council-run facility at Hazlehead.

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The local authority was heavily criticised in the National Cremation Investigation after it was discovered that in certain cases the bodies of infants were placed alongside an unrelated adult coffin and cremated together.

Baby ashes were also not recovered and returned to grieving parents.

A report to councillors by chief executive Angela Scott accepts the majority of the findings made in Dame Angiolini’s report and setting out a framework for the future.

But the results of an investigation into the responsibilities of staff will not be made public due to data protection issues.

The secondary report, detailing an external investigation into the “operational and strategic responsibility” of crematorium workers at the centre of the controversy, will be kept out of the public eye.

The leader of the council’s opposition SNP group, Stephen Flynn, said that keeping parents in the dark over what happened may not offer the level of accountability to which many feel they are 

He said: “The council are treating it as confidential for a number of reasons but the situation remains that the public will still be wanting to see accountability for the mistakes that have been made.”

In her public report, Ms Scott sets out a “cultural change activity” that she is implementing at the council in the wake of the scandal.

And she said it was “difficult to overestimate” the impact of past practices at Hazlehead Crematorium.

She added that continued support would be offered to those affected.

She said: “Sadly it is impossible to undo what was done in the past.

“My commitment is to ensure that such practices do not occur in the future.”