Government Launches Review Of GCA Amid Calls For Role To Be Extended To Cover More Of The Supply Chain

The performance of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) is to be examined in a statutory review launched by government yesterday, which could also lead to an extension of its role to cover more of the supply chain.

The Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) currently covers the 10 largest UK supermarkets and is designed to help control practices that have a negative impact on suppliers. Since the appointment of Christine Tacon in 2013 as GCA to oversee the code, there has been an 8% fall in code-related issues reported by supermarket suppliers from 2015, and a 17% decrease compared to 2014.

Alongside the statutory review, the government has launched a call for evidence to explore the case for extending the remit of the GCA, to include indirect suppliers to supermarkets.

Business Minister Margot James said: “It is important that suppliers of all sizes get a fair deal when working with supermarkets. The Groceries Code Adjudicator is making a significant impact, with suppliers reporting that nine out of the 10 retailers covered have improved their compliance with the Code over the past year.

“We are also looking at evidence for extending the GCA’s remit in recognition of concerns raised by other suppliers in the grocery sector – particularly primary producers and farmers – who are not covered by the Code. Government wants to do all it can to help these businesses and we look forward to hearing their views and those from across the sector.”

The statutory review will collect the evidence needed to assess the GCA’s performance and make sure the role is effective.

Commenting on the review, NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “The GCA plays an important role within the grocery sector and we must recognise the success Christine Tacon, the GCA, has achieved within the retailer sector over the last three years.

“The NFU believes the power of the GCA’s presence has enabled this change and therefore this way of working now needs to be replicated throughout the whole supply chain.

“Sustainability, risk management and volatility management must be the food supply chains core principles for British farming businesses to thrive. Unfair trading practices limit these principles of success and leads to smaller parties like our British farmers, losing out. This must stop.

“We would like to see agri-sector voluntary codes of practice, such as the Dairy and Livestock Voluntary Code, made compulsory and overseen by the GCA to give them more teeth. This will give primary producers the confidence that the supply chain is not abusing their buying power and position over that of the British farmer.”

NAM Implications:
  • Where at: The GCA is obviously working, is just the beginning in terms of retailers included and suppliers affected, with no evidence whistle-blowers having been compromised…
  • Where headed: Therefore, extension of remit is ‘no brainer’…
  • Effect on you: An opportunity to continue the progress to fair-share supplier-retailer dealings.
  • Action: As always, any success depends on supplier willingness to submit evidence, carefully…