2014_02_05 City Chambers 1


The council’s Chief Executive instructed a report by former Lord Advocate, Dame Elish Angiolini, in January 2013 on the practices at Mortonhall Crematorium relating to the disposal of babies’ ashes. The question over such disposals came to light in 2012, when it was discovered that contrary to what had been advised such remains might have been scattered in the Garden of Remembrance at Mortonhall. Some parents had been told that there would be no ashes following cremation of a baby.

The 600 page report has been couriered to all affected parents and families this morning, and will be published online later today.

It appears that The Edinburgh Evening News have already seen the report, as they have published an article online claiming that the report states that babies ashes were simply mixed in with the next adult cremation. They also say that the report contains evidence that staff at the crematorium, owned and run by City of Edinburgh Council, knew that there were ashes following cremation of a baby but did not tell parents.

The Scottish Government have set up an Infant Cremation Commission chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Bonomy which is due to make a report to Holyrood later this year. The remit of the commission is to investigate policies and practice across Scotland relating to the cremation of infants.

Lord Bonomy has reacted to the impending publication of Dame Elish’s report:-“I welcome the news that the Mortonhall Investigation has been completed by Dame Elish Angiolini and of its April 30, 2014 publication via Edinburgh City Council.

The Commission will fully consider the Mortonhall findings in order to help inform its own Report conclusions and recommendations. Then those parents who made a submission to the Commission last year will be given an opportunity to comment on the draft Commission report prior to its completion and my secretariat will be in contact with them shortly.

I am reluctant to provide any definite completion date in case this leads to later disappointment, however I do currently expect to be able to provide a finalised Infant Cremation Commission Report to Scottish Ministers around the end of May 2014. Scottish Government will then take on the necessary publication arrangements in June.”

We hope to have an update during the course of the morning.