Senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge said the West Coast main line rail fiasco exposed flaws in Whitehall processes.
She told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "It exposes in a very stark way that the present conventions on accountability between civil servants and ministers to Parliament and the public aren't working.
"It's yet another example ... of where the civil servants themselves have not really captured and taken on the role that is expected of them in today's society."
She added: "The way you climb the greasy pole in the civil service is that you change your job every couple of years.
"That's a disaster and we need to leave people in post so they take proper responsibility for the very difficult and complex job they have to do.
"Then we have to open up this issue of accountability so they can't hide behind lack of accountability for not telling us what the outcomes are."
The mess that is emerging over the bidding process for the West Coast Main Line will be costly and raise the question of re-nationalisation.
The decision to award FirstGroup the West Coast Main Line rail franchise has been cancelled, the Department for Transport said.