The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) 2018 Annual Conference took place on 25 June 2018.
The event, which was themed ‘Strong Progress: Fresh Challenges’ and attended by over 250 people, provided an opportunity for GCA Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, to discuss progress over the past 12 months and her plans for the future.
The results of 2018 Groceries sector survey were also revealed and they showed strong progress and significant improvement by retailers following GCA involvement.
The survey found that only four out of 10 suppliers reported having experienced a Code-related issue – down from a high of eight out of ten in 2014, and a huge improvement on 2017 when 56% of suppliers reported having experienced an issue.
It also revealed that the incidence of all ‘Top Issues’ is also on a steep downward trend, with delay in payments – reported by only 19% of suppliers - being the highest-ranking issue in 2018.
Christine Tacon, said: “My 2018 survey tells a very positive story and it is no coincidence that the four most-improved retailers this year have each faced increased GCA scrutiny and heightened levels of GCA engagement through investigations and case studies”
Rob Coleridge, Senior Associate at Irwin Mitchell attended the event and said:
Expert Opinion“The combination of the GCA’s evident success since the creation of the role in 2013, and secondly, the CMA’s current investigation into the widening of the role to cover further retailers, makes for a very interesting future to benefit both retailers and suppliers.
“Following the CMA’s review, if other major retailers are added to the GCA’s remit, the regulatory playing field would be made fairer for competing retailers, and suppliers will be afforded wider protection.
“The facts that the annual survey was completed by only 911 suppliers, of whom 25% admitted either to having a poor understanding of the GCA’s role or to being unaware of it, and 45% admitted to having not been trained on GSCOP, suggests that there is more work to be done in educating and convincing suppliers about GSCOP and the beneficial impact of the GCA.
“As things are, the dramatic increase in GSCOP compliance rates among the retailers has validated the GCA’s highly effective policy of engaging with retailers and suppliers to resolve problems without formal recourse, except where absolutely necessary, i.e. the investigation of Tesco and ongoing investigation of the Co-Op. The government would do well to investigate whether that approach can be applied to other sectors.”
Rob Coleridge - Senior Associate Solicitor
All of the presentations from the day can be downloaded here