BBC’s £100m digital scheme failure labelled ‘shocking waste of money’

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The BBC has been criticised for the failure of its £100m Digital Media Initiative by both government and the National Union of Journalists.

The corporation is writing off the £98.4m expenditure after five years, claiming that it has “struggled to keep pace with new developments”.

The NUJ has called it a “shocking waste of money“, and hit out at the corporation for its decision to “squander vast sums of public money on hopeless projects” when its staff are fighting for their jobs.

Of more concern to the BBC will be the government’s attack on former BBC director general Mark Thompson, who was accused of misleading MPs of how the project was going.

Thompson is believed to have told ministers that the project was on track and being used to make programmes, a statement that “just wasn’t true” according to House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge.

BBC trustee Anthony Fry told the committee that the failure of the DMI scheme was “the most seriously embarrassing thing I have ever seen”, and claimed that there was “not enough technological expertise… to actually go ahead with something of this scale or complexity”.

The DMI scheme, which involved the creation of new digital production tools to simplify programme-making, is now under independent investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Director general Tony Hall told staff that “appropriate action, disciplinary or otherwise” will be taken according to the findings of the investigation.

(Source: Press Gazette)

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