A report by the Rowntree Reform Trust examined a number of public sector databases in the UK with some damning conclusions.
The intro to the report said:
” Of the 46 databases assessed in this report … only six are found to have a proper legal basis for any privacy intrusions… Nearly twice as many are almost certainly illegal under (human rights or) data protection law …”
The 67-page report (see 2nd lead link) includes a section on building effective systems and commented on the failure rates of large IT projects (around 1/3rd were quoted as failing). By way of reason the report explained:
“The [classic] study of large-project failure revealed that big software disasters were usually due to specifications that were unclear, contradictory, the subject of conflict between stakeholders, or that kept changing in the course of the project.”