A former boss of the Co-operative Group’s farming business, Christine Tacon, has been appointed as the groceries code adjudicator.
Tacon will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the 10 largest supermarkets, with an annual turnover of £1bn, and their direct suppliers.
The adjudicator will have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the code, including those arising from confidential complaints. If evidence of a breach of the code is uncovered, Tacon will be able to make recommendations against a supermarket and require it to publish details of the breach.
Tacon will have the power to impose fines. The adjudicator will also have the power to arbitrate disputes between large supermarkets and their suppliers.
‘Treat suppliers fairly and lawfully’
Consumer and competition minister Jo Swinson said: “This is an incredibly important position in the retail groceries sector, making sure that large supermarkets treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully.
“Ms Tacon has a wide range of experience in the food, retail and farming industry and her appointment is a real milestone. Her knowledge of the sector will be of huge benefit, and I’m sure will be crucial in making the groceries code adjudicator a positive and powerful contributor to the groceries industry.”
Tacon said: “Being the groceries code adjudicator is a significant responsibility, and I am honoured to have been given the chance to make a permanent and enduring difference to the groceries sector. Coming from a commercial background, I am sure that if we can increase trust between retailers and their direct suppliers, it will lead to greater efficiency and can only have a beneficial impact on the rest of the supply chain.”
The four-year appointment will be attract the remuneration of £115,000 pro-rata for a three-day week, which will equate to £69,000/year.