Linwood's employment tribunal under way

John Linwood

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The employment tribunal over John Linwood's sacking from the BBC has started in London.

The former chief technology officer, who is claiming unfair dismissal, alleges that he was made a 'scapegoat' for the £100m failure of the Digital Media Initiative.

'The heat has thereby been taken off everyone else who might have been subject of questions as to why the DMI project is not proceeding and difficult questions have thereby been avoided,' wrote his lawyer Stuart Ritchie QC in a submission to the tribunal.

Tony Hall scrapped the integrated digital production and archiving system a year ago, after a review found 'its ambitions had not been met'. Linwood was suspended pending an independent review led by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

According to reports, the BBC told the tribunal that a disciplinary process had pointed to 'serious default in Mr Linwood's performance of his duties and/or neglect or incompetence in the performance of his duties, justifying his summary dismissal'.

'Even if he could not be held solely responsible for the failure of DMI, he clearly had significant responsibility for that failure, for allowing substantial sums of public money to be wasted and for failing to face up to DMI's difficulties,' the BBC added.

In January, the National Audit Office blamed the lack of a 'senior responsible owner' for DMI's failings, judging that split responsibility between divisions had weakened accountability.

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