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Chief executive 'excluded herself' from baby ashes probe

Angela Scott
Image caption Ms Scott did not include herself in a secret report's terms of reference

Aberdeen City Council's chief executive has excluded herself from an investigation into the way senior managers handled the baby ashes scandal, BBC Scotland has learned.

Angela Scott commissioned a secret report into practices at the city's Hazlehead crematorium.

But she did not include herself in its terms of reference.

Ms Scott showed the report to councillors on Wednesday, but then took it back citing legal advice.

The authority has now confirmed that she asked for the investigation to examine managers' actions only up to director level.

That excludes the part played by Ms Scott and her predecessors.

A council spokesman said the terms of reference came from the recommendations of two previous reports.

Mixed together

But North East Conservative MSP Ross Thomson said it was wrong that the most senior managers, who set the culture of the organisation, were excluded.

And Paul Wells, whose son's ashes were not returned after being cremated at Hazlehead, said he was surprised because "it was meant to be an open, transparent investigation, looking at everything."

BBC Scotland revealed in 2013 that no ashes had been offered to the families of infants cremated in Aberdeen over a five-year period.

Baby and adult ashes were mixed together and given back to relatives of the adult, while the parents of infants were told there were no ashes.

It followed similar revelations about Mortonhall crematorium in Edinburgh, which had been secretly burying baby ashes in secret for decades.

A report into the scandal by Dame Elish Angiolini described the practices as "abhorrent".

The council director responsible for Hazlehead, Pete Leonard, did not attend Wednesday's council meeting to discuss the secret report. He was said to be on annual leave.

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