Groceries Code Adjudicator reports forensic audits success

Christine Tacon reported ‘significant progress’ at the inaugural Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Conference today (23 June) in Westminster, announcing that eight of the 10 largest retailers had made voluntary commitments to time-limit forensic audits of suppliers.

Earlier this year Tacon, the GCA, laid out five key areas she wished to improve on in the way suppliers were treated by retailers: delivery performance, forecasting, requests for lump sums, packaging and design changes, and forensic auditing. It is in the latter that she said she had made the most progress, with Aldi, Asda, The Co-operative, Lidl, Iceland, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Morrisons all agreeing to limit their search for missed claims in suppliers’ trading accounts to the current and past two financial years. Previously, it was possible to analyse accounts for the previous six years for money that might be owed to retailers.

Tacon was employed last year to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), which aims to protect suppliers from large retailers. She spoke at the conference to report on her first year in the role, and to outline her plans going forward.

Tacon said: “I am delighted that eight of the large retailers have taken on board the concerns I voiced about the impact on suppliers – particularly small suppliers – being asked for sometimes significant sums of money several years after they had closed their accounts for a particular year.

“This is a major change from the previous position, where both retailers and suppliers were looking for missed invoices and payments going back up to six years – even longer in some circumstances. Each retailer will now set out how they will implement this commitment.”

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