The results of the second Statutory Review of the GCA, which covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019, have now been released and conclude that the GCA continues to be a highly effective mechanism in enforcing the Code and exercising its powers.
Stakeholders in the supply chain, including most suppliers, have reported that the GCA creates a more level playing field without restricting retailers to maintain competition and provide consumers good offers.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “The NFU welcomes this announcement and is pleased that the overall evidence suggests that there is still a need for the GCA in order to maintain retailer compliance with GSCOP.
“Since taking on the role in 2013, Christine Tacon has been essential in improving relationships between large retailers and their direct suppliers, ensuring regulated retailers are more accountable and honest in their dealings with their suppliers. This has helped the industry see a culture change that is driving fair and transparent supply chains.
“As we begin to leave the most disruptive period the food and farming sector has faced, it is critical that the next GCA continues to build on this excellent progress and we look forward to working closely with Christine’s successor.”
The NFU continue to push for this progress to be seen further up the supply chain. Currently we are lobbying for the government to strengthen the Agriculture Bill in order for the Secretary of State to have an obligation to introduce regulations to ensure a baseline of fair dealings between first purchasers and producers across all sectors. The NFU would like this to be regulated by a body which is competent to undertake qualitative assessments, such as the GCA, and to be brought in within 12 months of the Agriculture Bill coming into force.
The review also indicated that some suppliers are still hesitant to raise issues with the GCA. However, the government also recognised the steps that the current GCA has taken to encourage suppliers to raise issues, including the launch of the ‘Code Confident’ campaign, encouraging suppliers to get to know the Code through training.
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