What's wrong with the civil service?

The IPPR has published some quite shockingly frank research into what government ministers and senior civil servants really think about the public sector. Anonymous quotes from ministers paint a picture of a civil service lacking in expertise, with no accountability – and no culture of either reward or penalty. One quote which sounds all too familiar to me is:

The single biggest challenge in Whitehall is getting things done! It is great in emergencies but on the day-to-day stuff is it amazing what tactics you have to resort to, to get things done, especially if you want to take on conventional thinking. There is an inherent and institutional resistance to serious change.

These are the people supposedly at the top… and if they feel powerless to make change happen, what hope is there for the rest of us?