Red Flags on public software

Red Flags project evaluates public open source software

Published on: 27/09/2021
News

Red Flags is a project by the civil and expert association slovensko.digital. This project consists of ongoing evaluation processes of many state-funded IT projects. 50 criteria are the baseline of all projects and results made public with the intent to influence governmental decisions on software development.

Red Flags by Carson Masterson

The association slovensko.digital has a project – Red Flags – where independent experts make quality control of governmental open source IT projects in collaboration with public administrations. Slovensko.digital emphasises on their website that the public sector ought to have expert evaluations when they are spending public money.

Besides safeguarding public money, the association also intends to reduce the number of duplicate projects. The evaluation takes place on an ongoing basis. It evaluates these open source projects from the beginning and onwards in order to flag all risks related to a given project.

 

Challenges in 2021

The association stresses the importance on transparency in IT procurement, however, they were in spring 2021 faced with a challenge when amendment Š. Holého suggested to decrease transparency in competition and public control in IT-procurement. This went against the association’s idea (article 2, part 1a) of professional supervision of ICT investment from public funds by (article 2, part 1d) expert consultations and advice.

 

Red flags on public IT projects

The results of the expert evaluations, which are based on a methodology with 50 success criteria, are published online and accessible for the public. This IT community does not wait until IT projects have finished, but they rather participate in the evaluation on an ongoing basis.

The experts participating are monitored by a project editor. An expert is someone with in-depth experience in, for instance, hardware, architecture, project management or knowledge in public administration.

 

In action in 2019

The association’s independent experts evaluated six national projects in 2019 with a worth over 100 million Euros. Slovensko.digital had for a long time criticised the high costs of national IT projects and especially the new portal under the Ministry for Education.

This specific ministerium was in 2019 in the middle of developing a 27 million Euros project – an electronic confirmation of school attendance. According to the Red Flags experts most schools already had something similar, and these were even cheaper. The project received two public red flags by the association.

 

Slovensko.digital

This association is a membership-based civil association consisting of both individuals and organisations/companies. It is by nature voluntary, non-governmental and non-political.

The Red Flags project has been financially supported by the Fund for Transparent Slovakia at the Pontis Foundation and the U.S. Embassy in Slovakia.

 

 

Final take-aways

  • The Red Flags project evaluates public IT projects on an ongoing basis in order to ensure quality, minimise duplicates, and advice on the need for reducing costs.
  • Evaluations are done in collaboration with experts within the given field.
  • The project is run by an independent civil organisation.