A little late to the party. "A senior civil servant with no experience of running a complex IT programme" THAT is the problem. Not the contractors fault. Take it from someone who knows. Poor, exceptionally poor governance governance governance, is the root to all the badness. Therefore, the people who manage said senior civil servant should be held accountable. Said civil servant should never have been given the job. This is a much wider issue than anyone can imagine. The root cause is governance, the public service is systemically broken much higher up on the ladder.