Re: The heart sinks ...
Talking recently to a friend that works at the DWP, and formerly at the Treasury. He says that they all suffer from a few particular issues which are probably unsurmountable.
One is that they can't pay as much as the private sector. They can pay quite well but any really good Project Manager will always be able to get more in the private sector. Really high salaries will be queried (and possibly vetoed) by ministers.
Another is that the rules are complicated, and hence the scope is hard to fix. And always more complicated than they seem at the beginning. He was telling me some he's dealing with at the moment and they can seem very strange, though entirely necessary once they are explained. And it is *never* possible to get everything worked out at the beginning. So even at the start when a project hasn't been started it is guaranteed not to get the scope right. And that's before ministers start changing the scope for policy reasons, without consulting those who will need to do the implementation.