Computer Business Review

Why Government departments aren’t checking code quality

Joe Curtis

10:15, July 3 2014


Coverity finds that the public sector is lagging behind private sector on software SLAs.

The Government is lagging behind the private sector over the need to adopt stringent code quality measures, according to a Freedom of Information (FoI) report.

Just two out of nine departments said they set service level agreements (SLAs) for the number of errors acceptable in code from third-party providers, despite six out of the nine stating 70% of software was created externally.

This is according to an FoI report from software testing firm Coverity, which warned that the public sector is lagging behind the private sector.

Richard Walker, EMEA marketing director, told CBR: "One of the main challenges for government is that there is no one prescribed standard for measuring code across all departments.

"The business community has long recognised the importance of regular testing in the software development process, but the same attitude is not replicated by public sector bodies.

"Software often plays an important role in successfully managing departments as a whole, and it should be rigorously tested at all stages of development to make sure it can be relied upon, and that it delivers consistently."

On average, 62% of software for central Government departments was outsourced, found the FoI, with 47% of that then managed by third parties for the departments.

Only the Department for Transport developed all its own software, while the Department for International Development created 25% of its own coding.

The environment division, business division and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) outsourced all their own software, though the DWP also manages all of that internally.

CBR is awaiting comment from departments.

The news comes after public sector IT body Socitm claimed a pure agile software development approach does not work for public organisations, saying it leads to unwelcome risks.


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