Government hires first supermarket watchdog

The government has appointed Christine Tacon as its first regulator for the UK supermarket industry.

It comes eight months after the Queen welcomed the move to introduce a Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) in a bid to crack down on the treatment of supermarket suppliers.

Her role will be to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), which regulates interactions between the 10 largest supermarkets, accumulating an annual turnover of £1bn and their direct suppliers.

Tacon said: “Being the GCA 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.”

She will also have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the Code, including confidential complaints from any source, in which she will then be able to make recommendations against a supermarket, require them to publish details of their breach, or, in the most extreme cases, to impose fines.

Tacon, who previously ran The Co-operative’s farming business for 11 years, was awarded a CBE for her services to agriculture in 2004.

Welcoming the move, Terry Jones, director of communications at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said: "FDF congratulates Christine Tacon on her appointment as the first Groceries Code Adjudicator. Her experience and understanding of the whole supply chain means that she is well placed to take on this important role.

"We are looking forward to working with her to raise awareness with suppliers of the Adjudicator's role, developing guidance and ultimately supporting investigations.”

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