BBC CIO Linwood unfairly dismissed, employment tribunal rules

By Peter Gothard
07 Aug 2014 View Comments
BBC's John Linwood

An employment tribunal has found that former BBC CIO John Linwood, who was dismissed after being held responsible for the failure of its Digital Media Initiative (DMI) to the tune of £98.4m, was unfairly treated.

Saying it was "astonished" at the BBC's "cavalier disregard" for disciplinary procedures, the tribunal went some way to supporting Linwood's earlier claims that he had been made a "scapegoat" by the organisation after the DMI project spectacularly failed, taking nearly £100m of licence payers' money with it.

Further reading

The DMI project was intended to completely digitise the BBC's output, from filming to archiving. 

Linwood described how the BBC made "serious allegations of misconduct" against him "without any any foundation or prior knowledge", and he was told to resign or be put through a disciplinary process, which would lead to his dismissal.

Linwood is, needless to say, satisfied with the outcome. "I believe I was made a scapegoat by the BBC. I am profoundly grateful to the employment tribunal for getting to the heart of this whole sorry episode," he said.

Linwood's solicitor, Louise Hobbs of Signet Partners, added: "The judgment gives an unedifying insight into the inner workings of the BBC at senior management level."

The tribunal did, however, reject two other complaints Linwood had made against the BBC, which issued a statement expressing its disappointment over the decision. "We had a major failure of a significant project, and we had lost confidence - as the tribunal acknowledges - in John Linwood," said the BBC.

"At the time we believed we acted appropriately. The tribunal has taken a different view. 

"We are disappointed with the outcome, but nevertheless we will learn lessons from the judgement and we're grateful to staff who were involved in dealing with a very difficult case."

Compensation will be paid to Linwood, who was paid an annual salary of£280,000, but a figure has not yet been decided.

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