Re: Definition of success - going OT
It's more likely the case those Civil Servants have a vested interest in maintaining their niche "dept of wankography".
I do have some dealings with these people, and to give them their due, there's two types of civil servant. The technical specialists are often clever, and have a lot of experience in their niche policy field. These people generally know a lot about their specialism - but they operate in very narrow silos, have limited engagement with the fellow specialists even in the same department, and often lack any clout or visibility. Sadly the second type of civil servant are the movers and shakers of the civil service, usually Oxbridge arts graduates, have been fast tracked into management, and have neither real world experience, technical knowledge, or leadership ability. It's these senior fluffers who are the biggest cause of problems. Never held to account, flitting from department (and fuck up) to a new department and a new fuck up, before eventually retiring on an obscene pension with an honours list going (like Lin Homer). And its these free lunchers of the "First Division Association" who have most dealings with ministers, and who preside over policy disasters. The minsters are likewise know-nothing air heads, and when you add in the lobbying of (in particular) unaccountable yet often government funded NGOs, you have a mess of biblical proportions. And I haven't even mentioned the corruption and incompetence in Brussels.
Just as the free lunchers drift between departments in a form of over-paid Brownian motion, you'll be able to make the connection from my energy-informed view to other government departments leading world class fuckups, like DfT, DEFRA, MoJ, DFID, DWP, BIS, DfE, MoD etc.
Politicians are invariably a force for making the world worse, but in the UK it doesn't matter, because the Civil Service guarantees chaos regardless of the government intentions. There's must be a net present value of (guessing) of the order of £3 trillion from making the civil service work effectively, with true visibility, meritocracy, accountability (and a lot of senior sackings). Personally I can live with the civil service being inefficient (which is what politicians bleat on about), but it's that lack of effectiveness that really damages the UK, and which nobody is doing anything about.