For the last 40 years it has been a feature of our parliamentary system that government departments are accountable to parliament through the select committee system. The Public Accounts Committee is the main means by which officials in government departments are held to account for delivering value for money to the tax-payer.
Many government projects are ground-breaking, especially those which involve novel uses of information technology or the development of cutting-edge military capabilities. This would be challenging for any organisation.
Most senior civil servants tend to be from a generalist or policy background and tend not to have the same depth of professional skills and expertise as their private sector equivalents. Experienced senior professionals are generally rare commodities in the public sector, largely as a consequence of the salary differential with the private sector.