Christine Tacon, The Groceries Code Adjudicator's annual conference took place last Monday (27 June) where she showcased the 'significant' progress being made on behalf of suppliers. The key takeaways from us are outlined below:

  • She has updated her list of top 5 issues which now include charges for artwork and design services (an issue of particular concern for own label supply), delay in payments, margin maintenance, pay to stay arrangements and payments for better positioning . To a large extent, this builds and expands on the work she undertook in the Tesco investigation work. She has opened a consultation looking, in very general terms, for evidence on payments for better positioning.
  • There is an emerging theme about supply agreements needing to be clear and unequivocal about when and how payment claims are going to be made, particularly if suppliers are going to be asked to contract out of rights under GSCOP. Over time, we believe this may lead to a world where there is a much more detailed negotiation and spelling out of the basis on which retailers and suppliers do business than is currently seen.
  • There is to be a BIS consultation, launched very shortly, partly on the statutory issue of whether the GCA ought to remain in place and more interestingly on whether to widen her remit, in particular, to cover indirect suppliers. The GCA has opposed such an extension, but there is pressure for such an extension, from indirect suppliers (for example of fresh produce).