This. There's only two things I'm going to point out (besides the great concept of "bizarre sock-related accidents"), and those are (1) three YEARS of data has been delayed, and (2) the group is getting paid TWO HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS.
So here's my question - What do you do with two hundred million pounds, over a period of time of three years, that still doesn't result in people being able to add things to the database?
For that matter, WTF does this database need two hundred million pounds of funding for? I find it rather hard to believe it gets heavier load than, say, Livejournal, and LJ certainly doesn't have that much funding behind it. I mean, I'm probably missing something here, but it's . . . a database. We're looking at, what, fifty thousand for hardware, maybe a few thousands a month for colocation, and then just a lot of employees for data entry . . . which they can't do because they can't write to the database, so where is all this money going?
I realize this is an entirely different universe from the one I live in, but if my boss wanted, say, a bug tracker database, I could do it on our existing hardware in a month. That's $4000 of salary (although I get, like, half of that, grrr, stupid tax, but that's not the point). $4000. If it needed to be really big and corporate and scalable I could still get it done in a year with some good hardware. We're looking at $100k at most. Not two hundred million pounds. (Which converts out to about 350 million dollars, incidentally.)
So what am I missing? There's gotta be something, even big businesses can't possibly be so incompetent as to have a 0.05% return on investment.