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Former BBC CTO: "I was the fall guy" for £100m IT failure

John Linwood, former technology chief at the BBC, has claimed he was unfairly dismissed over the failure of the organisation’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI).

DMI, a £94.8m project, was originally started in 2008 with the aim of digitising the organisation’s archives. It was officially abandoned last year.

Last month, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) branded the project a “complete failure,” citing poor management and wasted money.

Linwood is now using his employment tribunal to state he was used as the “fall guy.”

While giving evidence, he claimed that the DMI only accounted for around 5% of his total time and he should have been viewed as the technology division’s “admiral of the fleet” rather than focused “captain” of the ambitious failed project.

The former CTO also argued that during his employment in the BBC’s tech department he successfully delivered hundreds of projects successfully.

Despite this, his former employer argued that Linwood sponsored the project as well as acting as its chair - therefore he was ultimately responsible for its downfall.

BBC claims Linwood hid DMI problems

An email referring to a “Plan B” that Linwood sent during his employment at the BBC was used as evidence in the tribunal.

The Corporation claims this communication acts as evidence that its former tech chief was “secretive about the technological problems of DMI.”

However, Linwood argues that the “Plan B” was a reaction to the growing concerns of BBC heads that the DMI was still not finished after two years development.

He added that his team put their “heart and soul” into the project and did not want to demoralise them by implementing a different course of action.

Linwood also claimed that technology issues were not the only element involved in the DMI failure, saying that unclear direction from the BBC’s production business about requirements also contributed.