Christine Tacon, the UK’s first Groceries Code Adjudicator, has announced she will step down from the role at the end of this week, handing over to her successor Mark White.
I agreed to stay on beyond the end of my second term to oversee any COVID-related issues that may have arisen in the early days and weeks of the pandemic. That responsibility has now been discharged.
I urged suppliers to bring any Code-related issues to me without delay and I have been maintaining regular contacts with the retailers’ Code Compliance Officers to monitor whether any issues linked to COVID had been raised with them. None have been reported.
As it is now over six months since supply arrangements had to be reviewed and revised to ensure essential groceries reached the supermarket shelves at the onset of the lockdown I would not expect any supplier now to raise an issue based on those actions. As a result I can now step down and formally hand over to Mark.
Ms Tacon said the response from both retailers and suppliers to the significant challenge of the COVID emergency had demonstrated that the Code provided the flexibility both parties needed to maintain the supply of groceries to consumers in all circumstances.
I am aware that sales of certain essential products appear to be accelerating again but I am confident this development will be well handled with proven, effective processes and ways of working established.
The GCA’s Annual Report had shown significant improvement in the groceries sector throughout her seven years in office, with suppliers reporting year-on-year improvements in retailer behaviour.
I am very proud of the progress we have achieved working together in the sector since I became GCA in June 2013 and I will continue to watch how all the retailers maintain good levels of compliance under Mark White’s leadership. I wish him all the best in what has for me been a very fulfilling role.