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22 January 2013 | Adam Leach
The government has named Christine Tacon, formerly head of Co-operative Farms, as the first groceries code adjudicator.
Tacon, who was in charge of Co-operative Farms for 11 years and has held senior positions at Mars, Anchor and Vodafone, will be responsible for overseeing the newly established Groceries Supply Code of Practice. This regulates the interactions between the 10 largest supermarkets and their suppliers and will take action against those that are found to have broken it.
Commenting on her appointment, Tacon said: “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.”
Jo Swinson, parliamentary undersecretary for employment relations and consumer affairs, said in a statement: “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 adjudicator a positive and powerful contributor to the groceries industry.”
In the role, Tacon will be able to launch investigations into the actions of companies in the grocery supply chain that she believes have breached the code. She will also be able to act as arbitrator to settle disputes between supermarkets and suppliers.
Tacon will start in the position fully once the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill has received Royal Assent, which is expected to happen in spring, and once the appropriate security checks have been carried out. Before then, she will work one day a week to meet stakeholders and appoint staff, and will work three days a week once she has taken up the role.