Competition Commission urges the Government to create ombudsman to oversee Groceries Supply Code of Practice

The Competition Commission has formally urged the Government's Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to create an ombudsman to oversee its new Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) -- published this week.

It has called on BIS to set up the operation after attempts earlier this year to get supermarkets to voluntarily sign up to the idea failed.

Tesco, Asda, Somerfield, Co-op, Iceland, Lidl, Sainsbury's and Morrisons all rejected the ombudsman idea, claiming it would just mean extra costs for suppliers and consumers at a time when many people are strapped for cash.

But Competition Commission chairman and chairman of the groceries inquiry Peter Freeman said an ombudsman would cost just £5m a year, which is, he said, "very modest compared with the annual turnover of £70bn in grocery supplies to retailers".

He added: "We are now left with no alternative but to set out the new code of practice and recommend that BIS set up the ombudsman to oversee its operation."

His letter to BIS stated: "[An] ombudsman... is needed to decide disputes, investigate complaints and give overall credibility. Here we have reached impasse. The Competition Commission does not have the power to do this on its own. The major retailers have refused to offer suitable undertakings so we are recommending that your department should set up the ombudsman, and do so as quickly as practicable."

The NFU has agreed that the Groceries Supply Code of Practice must have the backing of an ombudsman.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: "The new code will only work if proactively and robustly enforced so the climate of fear that suppliers endure can be eliminated. This can only be achieved through the implementation of an ombudsman."


Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

How big are the UK and Europe's apple and pear harvests likely to be?

How big are the UK and Europe's apple and pear harvests likely to be?

After a sizeable dip last year, Europe's apple harvest looks to be back on track, and could even break recent records. But the wider global situation means it should find a ready market.

What is the future for glyphosate?

What is the future for glyphosate?

The horticulture industry has defended glyphosate after a landmark US court case saw chemical company Monsanto ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a groundskeeper who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.

Should more be done to address farm thefts and other crimes?

Should more be done to address farm thefts and other crimes?

The cost of vehicle thefts from farms is rising, while trust in the police's ability to deal with rural crime is in decline, two new reports show.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive RANKING of UK Fruit Producers by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon