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This is one of those questions that seems to cause great consternation to many people whenever it occurs: are the FAR terms "Determination" and "Determination and Findings" synonymous?

For example, FAR 17.207(d) says "The contracting officer, after considering price and other factors, shall make the determination on the basis of one of the following" and then goes on to list the three relevant factors.  Paragraph (f) expands that a bit by adding "Before exercising an option, the contracting officer shall make a written determination for the contract file.." and then lists what must be attested to. [emphasis mine]  There is no call for a D&F anywhere in FAR 17.202 or 17.207.

FAR 1.701 defines 'Determination and Findings' as '"...a special form of written approval by an authorized official that is required by statute or regulation as a prerequisite to taking certain contract actions. The "determination" is a conclusion or decision supported by the "findings.’’' [emphasis mine]

FAR 17.207 requires me to document the file with my determination that I am compliant, but (for example) FAR 6.202 says I must prepare "...a determination and findings (D&F) (see subpart  1.7) signed by the head of the agency or designee" before I exclude sources.  These are not the same things.  The CO is not asking for approval to exercise an option, whereas the D&F to exclude sources is a "special form of written approval by an authorized official", typically  the HCA.

Not an earth-shattering topic to be sure, but it's Friday, I've got a few spare minutes, and I'm curious about the opinions of other Procurement Professionals on this (also, I cannot get CS's to stop sending me "D&F's to exercise an option" and it's really staring to bug me that they can't cite where the FAR or agency requires such a thing).  I do believe however it goes to one of the most common problems in the 1102 community: doing something because everyone has always done it that way, even if no one can explain why.

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Sometimes, the contracting officer has to determine...

Sometimes, the contracting officer has to determine in writing...

Sometimes, the contracting must prepare a D&F...

Only a dim-witted or poorly-trained contracting officer or procurement analyst would require all of the above in a D&F format.

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