Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon announced today that she has asked Tesco to examine its behaviour towards suppliers during the company’s internal review.
In a keynote speech to a groceries sector audience the Adjudicator said she had talked to the large retailer following the announcement it had made last week.
“I have requested that compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice is included in the scope of the internal investigation and I have asked to be notified if Tesco starts to find practices which might breach the Code,” she said.
“The GCA will take a decision on next steps based on the evidence.”
Ms Tacon was speaking to the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association Show in Birmingham just one week after Tesco announced it was carrying out an internal investigation into its financial reporting of its half-year results.
During the speech she also gave an update on progress in her actions on forensic auditing following the June announcement that eight out of ten large retailers covered by the Code had agreed a voluntary commitment to time limit such audits to two years.
“I have asked all the retailers to inform their suppliers in October about their forensic auditing policies.”
“This is an example of how I want to achieve swift progress by informal methods on issues faced by many suppliers but let me be clear that I also have the power to carry out investigations and impose sanctions, including fines in the most serious breaches of the Code.
She said it was vital suppliers brought her hard evidence – such as financial and contractual documentation and notes of conversations – to help her perform her role effectively and she assured them their identities would be protected.
“I don’t want to interfere in your commercial relationships with retailers but if you know of a practice that is not only affecting you but is also likely to affect others isn’t that a justification to tell me so that I can take action? Give me the tools and I can do the job.
“I rely on suppliers, trade associations and other organisations and individuals with evidence about potential breaches of the Code to bring that evidence to the GCA.
“Without the evidence I am powerless to act, without a strong body of fact-based information I cannot launch an investigation and without detailed data any investigation I launch will not be able to prove any breach of the Code has taken place.”
Notes to editors