Groceries Code Adjudicator
The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) is committed to being open about discussions with retailers Code Compliance Officers (CCOs).
The GCA (Christine Tacon) and members of her team met with the CCOs and other representatives from the regulated retailers.
3 June 2019
|Aldi Stores Limited||Chris Young (CCO) and Richard Cramp|
|Tesco plc||David Ward (CCO) and Jodie Tattersall|
|Ocado Group plc||Jo West (CCO) and Carolyn Bane|
5 June 2019
|Asda Stores Limited||Sarah Dickson (CCO) and Vicki Ruddock|
|Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc||Steven Butts (CCO), Denise Harris and Andrew Clappen|
|Iceland Foods Limited||Duncan Vaughan (CCO) and Sarah Hutchinson|
10 June 2019
|Lidl UK GmbH||Sophie Wettlaufer (CCO) and Katrin Sue?er|
|Co-operative Group Limited||Saleem Chowdhery (CCO), Michael Fletcher, Gill Gardner and Andy Phelps|
|Marks and Spencer plc||Max Gillibrand (CCO), Robert Steadman and Stephen Spellman|
12 June 2019
|J Sainsbury plc||Helen Charnley (CCO) and Jillian Hardwick|
|Waitrose Limited||Matt Wilson (CCO), Sarah Tomsett, and David Brock|
|B&M European Value Retail SA||Paul McDonald (CCO) and Paul Owen|
There was an update on any issues arising from the previous set of minutes.
The GCA provided each retailer with the details of the share of the annual levy they would pay during the current financial year.
The GCA set out her plans for the annual conference to be held on 24 June 2019. As in previous years the GCA would present her review of the previous year and her forward look. YouGov would present the outcome of the groceries sector survey. There would also be a presentation from Michael Hutchings, Independent Chair of the Supply Chain Initiative. All CCOs had agreed to make themselves available for informal conversations with suppliers during the lunch break.
Retailers were given an overview of the results of the GCAs annual survey and their individual retailer specific packs. The results would be announced at the conference.
The GCA had reviewed information provided by the original 10 designated retailers about theirprogress on the monitored issues of delay in payments, forecasting and promotions. The GCA raised queries with some retailers based on the information they had provided. On delay in payments, all retailers that made use of drop and drive were able to demonstrate that they had taken steps to minimise the risk of delay in payments arising from this practice; nine retailers had explicitly confirmed that they provided suppliers with 30 days in which to challenge proposed invoice deductions; all retailers confirmed they resolved pricing errors within seven days; all retailers confirmed that supply agreements or supplier handbooks outlined all charges and the basis for any charges as well as providing information on how a supplier could challenge a proposed invoice deduction; all retailers had in place a single point of contact or supplier helpline to enable suppliers to raise queries; and all retailers except one confirmed they trained their finance teams on the Code.
On the issues of forecasting and promotions the GCA was satisfied that retailers had demonstrated they were working towards her published best practice statement. The GCA had however written to three of the original 10 retailers to clarify a number of issues, in particular where it was unclear how they could demonstrate to her that any blanket exclusion in a supply agreement would be compliant with the Code in light of her stated view that there would almost always be some circumstances in which compensation may be appropriate; or where it was unclear how a retailer could demonstrate how the due care test could be met in light of her view that it was unlikely to be capable of being met by a retailer that provided no way for a supplier to contribute to the forecasting process.
The GCA was broadly content with the progress made by retailers and the most recent survey indicated that suppliers were reporting fewer issues in relation to delay in payments, forecasting and promotions. The GCA intended to move the issues to previous although she would continue to work with some retailers on them. In 2014, eight of the 10 original designated retailers signed up the GCAs voluntary commitment to limit the auditing of suppliers trading accounts in search of missed claims to no more than the current and previous two financial years, on a reciprocal basis with those suppliers. Waitrose Limited confirmed it would also now also sign up to the voluntary commitment.
Ocado Group plc (Ocado) was continuing to review how it was working towards the GCAs stated position on each of the Top Issues. In line with this, Ocado confirmed it would sign up to the GCAs voluntary commitment in relation to forensic auditing and that it was working towards the GCAs published best practice statements on forecasting and promotions, and on consumer complaints. It was the GCAs first meeting with B&M European Value Retail SA (B&M) and she would be working with the retailer to understand more about which of her Top Issues were relevant to its business practices.
There was an opportunity for CCOs to ask any questions about the report of the investigation into Co-operative Group limited.
The GCA discussed any issues covered in the retailers progress report to the GCA.
The GCA highlighted any issues being raised by direct suppliers specific to a particular retailer or issues which the