Groceries Code Adjudicator to name but not fine badly behaved supermarkets

4 August 2010

4 August 2010 | Angeline Albert

A UK watchdog could shortly have the power to name and shame supermarkets that fail to stick to a code of conduct governing their treatment of suppliers.

Under government proposals formulated in response to evidence that suppliers face excessive risks and unexpected costs when trading with supermarkets, the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) would be able to publicise any breaches of a code of conduct, but not impose fines. Anyone in the supply chain, whether in the UK or abroad, will be able to complain to the GCA.

The Groceries Supply Code of Conduct (GSCOP), which has been in place since 4 February, applies to retailers with an annual grocery turnover of more than £1 billion. The policy aims to prevent large retailers abusing their power and requires them to appoint a compliance officer directly responsible for the code.

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “This is the direction the government is taking so it is important retailers familiarise themselves and comply with the code. We believe the negative publicity that comes from naming and shaming will be a strong enough deterrent.”

Funding for the GCA will come from supermarkets and will be based on turnover and compliance with the GSCOP.

BIS plans to bring forward legislation to set up the adjudicating body, which will sit within the Office of Fair Trading. It is seeking approval to publish a draft bill later this year.

The coalition government has published its response to the GCA consultation launched by the Labour government. 

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