BBC paid at least £150,000 to Accenture for DMI review

By Sooraj Shah
26 Jun 2014 View Comments
Bag of money

The BBC is likely to have splashed out at least £150,000 on consultancy firm Accenture to review the failed £98m Digital Media Initiative (DMI).

The broadcaster did not disclose the exact amount spent on the consultancy firm, but a Freedom of Information request made by Computing found that the review took place over the course of five weeks across January and February 2013. This was preceded by a two to three week "mobilisation phase". There were eight consultants working on the review, the BBC said, but not all of these consultants were working full-time on the review.

Further reading

Computing had asked how much it cost the BBC to hire Accenture for the review, but the organisation claimed that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Using the highest figure on salary monitoring website Payscale of £85,655 a year, with six of the top consultants working full-time, and two part-time consultants on average Accenture salaries - it would have cost the BBC £92,692 for the review, and that is before the 30 to 60 per cent overhead usually charged by a consultancy the size of Accenture, which could have brought the total bill to £148,307.

Alternatively, taking into account the average pay of a consultant at Accenture using remuneration and career website Glassdoor, a consultant working full-time for eight weeks would earn £7,189. If this is multiplied by the eight consultants, it would have cost the BBC at least £57,518 - once again, before the overheads and potential bonus payments.

Figures released at the end of last year showed that the BBC had spent £10m on consultants in 12 months, as the organisation's executives spent thousands of pounds on advisers from the likes of Deloitte, KPMG, and of course, Accenture. The previous bill between 2011 and 2012 was for £5m.

As a result of the failed initiative, the BBC's CTO John Linwood was suspended and later sacked, with BBC chief executive Tony Hall stating that the project had "wasted a huge amount of licence fee payers' money".

Linwood has since defended his role in the project and has decided to take legal action over his sacking.

He claimed that Accenture, which reviewed the Metadata Archive, "made no finding of technology failure", and slammed the BBC for telling the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that Accenture had found in its review that "the kit doesn't work" and is "worth nothing", claiming that these were false allegations.

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