There are now a number of commercial companies that provide plant security protection services, including well-trained uniformed guards. These security service companies often provide efficient plant protection services for less than the cost of such services performed by the contractor's own security employees. Accordingly, evaluation of costs of security guards at the contractor's facilities should include a comparison between the cost of the in-house services and the cost of engaging an outside security service firm. When excessive or unreasonable costs are questioned as a result of the above cost comparison, it is the contractor's responsibility to demonstrate the reasonableness and to justify the costs.In other words, DCAA thinks it would be cheaper to outsource security guard services then to hire and maintain in in-house security force.
Perhaps the Agency is correct but its certainly not a universal phenomenon. We have seen a case where a contractor replaced in-house security guards with outsourced services at lower costs. However, the in-house guards were part of a collective bargaining agreement (i.e. "unionized") while the outsourced guards were not. That differential alone represented most of the savings. But all things being equal, outsourced services might be more expensive because the company providing the services need to make a profit.
We would also note that cost is not the only consideration in deciding whether to build an in-house security function or outsource it. Sometimes, contractual requirements may dictate security requirements. Also, in many cases, security personnel serve multiple roles within the company (such as fire protection or drivers).
We recommend that contractors employing in-house security personnel be prepared to demonstrate the reasonableness of the method chosen to provide those services. Without such analysis, its too easy to be "second-guessed" by a contract auditor.