Date: 18.12.2013Last updated: 19.12.2013 at 11.34

Category: Value for money

Today, the Trust has published a report into the BBC's failed Digital Media Initiative (DMI) technology project.

DMI was intended to improve production efficiency by enabling BBC staff to develop, create, share and manage video and audio content and programming on their desktop. It was closed in May 2013 and the remaining DMI assets were written down at a total cost to the BBC of £98.4m.

The Trust commissioned PwC to conduct a comprehensive review of the management and reporting of the project to ensure lessons were learned and applied to current and future projects. PwC were not asked to investigate why the DMI technology did not deliver or the specific decision to write off DMI assets.

A technical review was carried about by Accenture on behalf of the BBC Executive in Autumn 2012, which directly led to the project's closure. The NAO is also currently conducting a review which we expect to report in early 2014.

PwC found that no single event or issue caused DMI to fail. Serious weaknesses in project management and reporting, a lack of focus on business change, together with piecemeal assurance arrangements, meant that it took the BBC too long to realise that the project was in serious trouble and unlikely to deliver its objectives.

The full PwC report can be found here:

BBC Digital Media Initiative - review of the BBC's management of DMI (PDF file, 1.5MB)

The Trust and the Executive have published separate responses to the report.

These build on the actions already announced following the Trust and Executive's review of internal governance, including better monitoring of specific project's progress.

The Trust has asked the Executive to implement PwC's recommendations on project management and will review their progress on this as part of its annual review of BBC performance in 2014-15.

As we stated last week, in future this process will be more transparent and will include some online streaming of our end-of-year session with Executive Board members.

Diane Coyle, Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust, said:

"The failure of the DMI project came at an unacceptable cost to licence fee payers and PwC found serious weaknesses in the governance of the project.

"We announced last week that we were strengthening project reporting arrangements within a clearer governance system. That will enable the BBC Executive to ensure any serious problems are spotted and addressed more swiftly. In turn, the Trust will have the up-to-date information it needs to investigate if things continue to go wrong. We will be more rigorous and transparent about assessing BBC performance in future and that will include retrospective reviews of other big projects and an assessment, for 2014-15, of the BBC's progress in implementing PwC's recommendations."

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