A secret Aberdeen City Council report into the baby ashes scandal at Hazlehead Crematorium must be published quickly, council leaders demanded after a watchdog ordered its release.
Scotland’s Information Commissioner (SIC) ruled last night that large parts of the investigation into “abhorrent practices”, commissioned by the local authority from an outside expert, must be made public by September 1.
A council spokesman said it was “committed to complying with the requirements in the time frame specified” after seeing its bid to keep all of the findings under wraps rejected.
But the leaders of all three of the townhouse’s biggest party groups have written to chief executive Angela Scott urging swift action and calling for “openness and transparency”.
A national investigation by Dame Elish Angiolini revealed that ashes of infants and adults were routinely mixed at the site.
On a number of occasions, parents were not given the ashes of their children.
In the aftermath of her report, the council brought in Richard Penn to examine its failings.
It repeatedly refused to make public his findings, arguing it would compromise disciplinary proceedings and breach data protection laws.
But while the Commissioner accepted some details should remain under wraps, she rejected other parts of the council’s secrecy bid.
Council leader Jenny Laing and Conservative counterpart Douglas Lumsden asked the chief executive to “expedite” the council’s response.
“This was a very serious incident and rightly the public will want to know that proper due diligence was carried out by the council’s leadership team,” they told her.
“We believe, and have advised the chief executive as such, that openness and transparency are primary in any subsequent publication of the report.”
SNP opposition leader Stephen Flynn said: “The level of secrecy placed upon this document by the council was extreme, with all councillors prevented from retaining a copy and with only a short window provided to read it whilst in a private session of a council meeting.
“What we now need is for this veil of secrecy to be lifted and for full transparency to provided.
“I will be writing to the Council Leader to ask that she ensures that this report is made public by the end of the week.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Greig said: “The council needs to reveal all of the appropriate details as soon as possible.”
A council spokesman said: “We have received initial notification from the Scottish Information Commissioner and the full decision will be considered in due course.”