In addition, 72% of the 100 public sector IT directors surveyed by IT services organisation Compuware admitted that they were unable to assess the risk of an application failing before they went live with it.
Each of the organisations surveyed estimated that poor quality software cost them between £100,000 and £500,000 a year.
"Poor quality applications can have a serious impact on the success of e-government initiatives," said Sarah Saltzman, technology support manager at Compuware.
"Rather than trying to negotiate the unknown, public sector IT departments should be measuring and monitoring risk throughout the development of an app- lication."
In the survey, 51% of respondents said senior management gave little business guidance about applications before they were tested and most of the responsibility was left to the IT department.
This makes it difficult for the IT department to assess the most important functions of an application, according to Compuware. It also makes it difficult to develop an effective testing strategy before going live, the firm said.