"I'm struggling to find sympathy for this chap tbh."
I have some sympathy, he got pretty beaten up by this whole affair however, it seems like he was blinded by this whole "dream job" bollocks and forgot to deal with the reality. Some people are very adept at drifting through life, they land on their feet more often by luck, the rest of us can't. I never leave anything to chance, especially if it involved more than one person you don't know messing about with your livelihood.
The second you throw in government bureaucracy to anything you're trying to do, you can pretty much guarantee that everyone except you is a complete f**king tool with barely enough common sense to cope with junior school classes! Treat everyone in any government or council like a tool ( at the very least as though come 5pm they couldn't care less if you dropped down dead! ) and then you'll start consider all the aspects required and you might actually manage to get 75% of what it is you're trying to do. I've worked for various UK gov agencies and quite frankly the only reason we haven't just locked and bolted the doors on this country and moved elsewhere is that every government is the same as ours or worse!
I think this guy put too much faith in things being sorted out for him when he should have been nagging everyone in the chain to ensure stuff was happening as and when it should have.
As they used to say in the X-Files, "Trust No One"....'cos most people you meet in companies and organisations are incompetent bell-ends until proven otherwise.