Re: Negligence? Mal-or-nonfeasance in public office? Being a dick?
"Surely there is some stick to beat these officials with"
No, in a word. I work in a role that's very close to certain areas of government, and this is normal. It can be summed up as a process:
Problem is identified, government department forced to act
Long, slow "consultation"
Select really poor idea that has little stakeholder support
Design complex solution without any market testing to see if the idea works
Implement complex solution late
Ignore screams of protest and announce success.
Wait for pension and New Years Honours list.
There's nothing special about DCMS in this respect. Look at the mess of energy policy (including particularly madcap ideas like "Green Deal". Look at defence policy or defence procurement. Look at DfT's bungling in simply re-letting a couple of rail franchises. Look at DCLG's £1bn failure over fire control centres. Look at DFID funding education in India for years whilst India chose to spend its own money on nuclear weapons and a space programme. Look at the Home Office wasting a third of a billion on an immigration system that doesn't work. Look at the DoH wasting £10bn on the failed patient records system. Look at the MoJ wasting £50m on a failed shared services mess, and half a billion on the bungled Libra system. Look at DWP and the rolling disaster of universal credit. I could go on, but I think that's enough for now.
The "governance" in government is an unmitigated mess. The idiots of Westminster certainly don't help, but too many of the episodes mentioned above are wholly or largely under the control of the Civil Service, and this is the same Civil Service that advises ministers when they make decisions.
Once in a flood does a senior civil servant get held to account for this sort of disaster. More often they simply drift on to another well rewarded post in another government department about which they know nothing.