Re: You have to wonder
"Why there aren't penalty clauses for nondelivery."
There almost certainly are, the problem is getting an agreed definition of non-delivery. Say ACME Consultancy Corp. is contracted to deliver a system for a public sector department. The system is spec'd, built and delivered for testing.
Technically clueless big boss civil servant - "We can't use this! It's useless! It doesn't do X, Y or Z! We want our money back!"
ACME Consultancy Corp. - "Here's the specification you gave us, it's supposed to do A, B, C and D. Why didn't you tell us about X, Y and Z?"
Technically clueless big boss civil servant - <Splutters> "It's a multi-rotatory testiculator administration system, everyone knows it needs to do X, Y and Z!"
ACME Consultancy Corp. - <Sighs> "OK, back to the drawing board..."
I'm not saying this sort of situation is completely down to incompetent civil servants, as IT service providers sometimes demonstrate unbelievable levels of ineptitude or unethical business practice. But if you nail down a contract so tightly that it's chock-a-block with penalty clauses, service providers will simply not bid for the work, as many have been very badly burned in the past (see the NHS NPfIT as an example, where wildly moving goalposts cost some providers several hundreds of millions of pounds, whether they bailed out of the contract or blithely carried on.)
Water tight delivery contracts will only work once public sector departments employ a decent number of competent, experienced system and business analysts etc. who know their department's operation and current technology well enough to produce a properly specified contract, that, if delivered to spec, will be both functional and usable. If a provider fails to deliver in that situation, then it's fair and square penalty time, with an extra kick in the 'nads for good measure...