The National Audit Office slammed the BBC for failures related to the Digital Media Initiative project

BBC slammed for failed digital system project

The National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised the BBC for wasting £100m of licence fee money on the Digital Media Initiative project that was eventually scrapped due to technical shortcomings. 

The unsuccessful venture, that led to that time BBC chief technology officer John Linwood to be sacked, aimed to create an integrated digital production and archiving system allowing staff to handle all aspects of video and audio production from their desks.

The NAO said today the BBC Executive responsible for the project’s delivery "did not have sufficient grip" on the IT side of things, nor thoroughly assessed the system to see whether it was "technically sound".

The report also found there was no independent assessment of the technical design's feasibility and said governance arrangements for the project "were inadequate for its scale, complexity and risk".

Overall £125.9m had been spent on the development before the work was discontinued in May last year.

A report published a month ago by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found numerous areas were "not fit for purpose" including governance of the project, arrangements for reporting progress to BBC bosses and risk management.

It was also claimed the project was cancelled "without examining the technical feasibility or cost of completing it". The BBC is looking at how some parts of the system can be developed or integrated for the future.

The BBC Executive board began a review of the project in May 2012 after it was made aware of the problems, by which point it was 15 months behind an approved timetable.

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