The BBC needs to overhaul its approach to future major projects in order to safeguard licence fee payers’ money, following the “complete failure” of its Digital Media Initiative (DMI), according to MP Margaret Hodge.
The Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts attacked the BBC yesterday for being “far too complacent” about the risks involved with taking the DMI scheme in-house, which cost licence fee payers £98.4 million and resulted in “virtually nothing in return.”
DMI produced an archive catalogue that is more expensive, slower and “more cumbersome than the 40 year-old system it was designed to replace,” said Hodge, following a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigation into DMI.
“Lack of clearly defined responsibility and accountability meant the corporation failed to respond to warning signals that the programme was in trouble,” said Hodge.
“Both the BBC Executive and the Trust need to overhaul their approach to managing and implementing major projects so that they properly safeguard licence fee payers’ money.”
PAC said that no single individual had overall responsibility for delivering DMI or took ownership of problems when they arose. It also said that neither the BBC’s executive board nor the BBC Trust knew enough about the DMI’s progress, which led to parliament being misinformed.
“The BBC Executive should apply more rigorous and timely scrutiny to its major projects to limit potential losses,” said the PAC. It also called on the BBC’s governing body, the BBC Trust, to outline changes it will make in relation to “chasing and challenging” the delivery of major projects.
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