I totally agree, I stopped being involved with DofE years ago as an instructor/ assessor. Partly down to family and partly down the politics and some of the individuals' attitude
Two points on training and experience.
1) When I was involved, one leader took equipment including clothes of one group because it was so hot. The following day, a girl from that was taken off with hypothermia.
So some form of training is vital
2) I spent a weekend in Snowdonia with a guy getting QMD for toward his ML so he could be involved with Gold. Personally, I wouldn't trust my kids with him
So, to me its important to get a balance of knowledge, skills and above all the right individual. But utopia doesn't exist. As for GPS, I think it should be a no. But how can it be stopped when the groups will undoubtedly being carrying smart phone and as pointed out are far more capable of using technology that most leaders.
Having to 'find your bearings' is where the skills and to an extent team building and also if they are lost , a sense of fear comes in.
How can it be improved, less bureaucracy - but that will never happen
Kit, as was mentioned on another post, carrying Force 10's and bulky Trangia's never did kids any harm previously, its called character building. So, how about standardising some of it. I was in one store, and I heard mummy say she wanted the best for her little darling - even though they had never done anything before.
I am not sure if the same format continues when a 'project' or purpose has to be involved. If so, this is what I felt let the expedition down. How could it be improved - well it shouldn't be to onerous like an exam, as that would put kids off ever doing it in the first place, perhaps a presentation rather than written could be an option, not sure if it is.
The expedition taught me a lot about being in a team, everyone had their roles and some were happy to even delegate there role to someone else - I bet they are now in highly paid jobs
Perhaps some assessment on the team player aspect would be useful
Participant shouldn't be allowed on the expedition until they are competent in every aspect - As an assessor I saw a number who just walked and didn't know or want to know about navigating or cooking, let alone how to pack a rucksack.