Jamie Hailstone 29 June 2016

Council chief apologises after baby ashes report

The chief executive of Aberdeen City Council has apologised unreservedly after a report heavily criticised how babies were cremated at local facilities.

The local authority’s top officer, Angela Scott, is due to address councillors today following the publication of the National Cremation Investigation report yesterday.

The national report was led by Dame Eilish Angiolini and while it raised concerns about a number of facilities around the country, the ‘most serious issues in this investigation have arisen at Hazlehead Crematorium in Aberdeen’.

According to the report, infants were regularly cremated in the same chamber as adults.

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

‘On behalf of the council I want to again apologise unreservedly to those grieving families affected by the historic practices, now stopped, at Aberdeen Crematorium,’ said Ms Scott.

‘I know that this has resulted in significant distress and I am determined to begin the process of restoring public confidence.

‘Today, I have asked my heads of legal and HR to consider in full the implications of Dame Elish’s report and recommendations. I will report their findings to council in August,’ added the chief executive.

‘I also today contacted the Inspector of Crematoria, Scotland and at my invitation he will undertake an inspection of Aberdeen Crematorium in the next few days. I will of course share the results of this inspection with council.’

The investigation was set up by the Scottish Government in 2014 to look at individual cases where parents had unanswered questions about the cremation of their baby.

A total of more than 200 cases, across 14 crematoria, were investigated by Dame Elish and her team.

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