NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen council boss investigates ashes scandal

Hazlehead crematoria

The chief executive of Aberdeen City Council is to investigate which senior managers should be held accountable for its handling of the baby ashes scandal.

However BBC Scotland has learned a second external report will not be published.

It is thought to point the finger at some senior officials.

Aberdeen City Council was heavily criticised in Dame Elish Angiolini's report in June into the handling of ashes of cremated babies.

It described as "abhorrent" the routine practice of cremating babies bodies with unrelated adults.

The director responsible for the department which includes Hazlehead crematorium, Pete Leonard, was quoted by investigators referring to "slow cooking" babies for which he has since been heavily criticised.

Secret report

A report to Aberdeen councillors reveals the chief executive is investigating senior lines of responsibility and will decide what action, if any, to take.

It will be discussed on Wednesday.

However a second report to the council, understood to be heavily critical of some of those in charge, will remain secret because it contains confidential details of the conduct of staff.

Image copyright Aberdeen City Council
Image caption A second report was commissioned in June by chief executive Angela Scott

That report was commissioned in June this year by chief executive Angela Scott.

She said she was willing to meet families affected by what went on at Hazlehead crematorium.

The Crown Office is to examine the results of the probe.

No ashes

Former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini prepared the 400-page national cremation investigation, which was commissioned by the Scottish government.

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.

The crematorium at Hazlehead in Aberdeen was among those investigated after it emerged staff at the Mortonhall crematorium in Edinburgh had been burying baby ashes in secret for decades.

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