National Laboratories DOE Needs to Assess the Impact of Using Performance-Based Contracts.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIV
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The Department of Energy DOE contracts with private companies and educational institutions to manage and operate 18 of its 22 laboratories. These are cost reimbursement contracts under which DOE pays all of its contractors allowable costs. DOE can also provide a fee, or profit, to a contractor for managing a laboratory. Responding to criticism that its historical contracting practices were costly and inefficient, DOE switched to performance-based contracts in 1994 as part of its contract reform program. Use of these contracts allows DOE to structure each contract to provide a clear statement of what needs to be accomplished-rather than providing broad statements of work-and to rely on performance measures to evaluate a contractors progress toward meeting its objectives. An important feature of performance-based contracting is providing incentives, including fees, to the contractors achievement of objectives as a means of encouraging superior performance and lowering costs. Concerned about the progress made to implement performance-based contracting at the national laboratories, you asked us to assess the status of performance-based contracting in DOES national laboratory contracts, and identify efforts being made to determine the impact of performance-based contracting.
- Administration and Management