NFU members able to report retailer breaches anonymously

Farmers can now anonymously report retailers for breaching the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) thanks to a new scheme, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).

If they believe retailers have been engaging in unfair practice, members can now provide evidence and information to the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA), Christine Tacon, through the NFU, thus protecting their anonymity. Breach reports can be made at http://www.nfuonline.com/websurveys/gscop2014/gscop2014.htm

The scheme is designed to create an environment where the producer does not feel intimidated by the fear of repercussions if it discloses information about GSCOP breaches.

NFU head of food and farming Phil Hudson said: NFU members have been telling us for some time that breaches of the GSCOP code continue to take place, which is why we lobbied so hard for the introduction of an adjudicator.

Christine Tacons appointment last year opens up the opportunity to raise our concerns and complaints through an independent adjudicator, who is able to carry out investigations and apply sanctions to offending retailers. With this new online form, NFU members are now able to submit their evidence anonymously through their representative body.

GSCOP was introduced in 2010 to regulate the relationship between retailers and their direct suppliers, introducing a number of regulations to prevent retailers acting unjustly. Examples include unfair payments for customer complaints, retrospective variations to supply agreements, and forced contributions. A GCA was then appointed last year to oversee GSCOP and the way retailers treat suppliers.

Hudson added: Although the GSCOP code covers direct suppliers only, which often our members are not, anyone with information or evidence of a breach of the code is able to submit evidence to the adjudicator. Therefore, it is still very important for our members to come forward and share their concerns.

Farmers are also being encouraged to take part in a separate GCA survey which aims to establish whether relationships have improved since the introduction of the adjudicator. It can be found at https://g4-emea.yougov.com/vfKVLFTFX8q8xl.

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