SERVICE CONTRACTS: Agencies Should Take Steps to More Effectively Use Independent Government Cost Estimates
Why GAO Did This Study IGCEs are the government’s best estimate of a contract’s potential costs—an important tool for both program and contracting officials to provide information when planning for and awarding contracts. IGCEs are particularly critical for service contracts—accounting for more than $270 billion in government contract spending in fiscal year 2015—to ensure the costs associated with labor are fully understood. GAO was asked to review federal agencies’ use of IGCEs. This report examines the extent to which (1) selected departments developed IGCEs for service contracts and (2) selected departments’ IGCEs were useful in supporting the acquisition planning process. To conduct this work, GAO selected six departments that in fiscal year 2015, the most current data available, were among the top spenders on services or had a high percentage of spending on services. GAO reviewed a random non-generalizable sample of 76 service contracts, and compared IGCEs and related documentation with GAO’s cost estimating guide. GAO also conducted interviews with contracting and program officials.