Sir, Christine Tacon is right that GSCOP has driven significant improvements in the relationship between retailers and suppliers, which should be celebrated, not least to emphasise the value of a strong regulator with the power to ‘force’ retailers to behave as they like to claim they do.

At the end of a positive tenure, legacy chat must focus on making sure your successor will also have the ability to ‘force’ good behaviour, even if your buzzword is ‘collaboration’. I say this because when you work deep in the underbelly of the grocery business, in the retrospective audit, the PR on the CSR page rarely reflects actual practice. In 2020, one of the big five conducts their audit using data unavailable to the supplier, undermining their ability to conduct a counter review… fair?

Another, despite insisting it has a reciprocal audit process (albeit with no paper trail), will admit in a moment of candour that when a supplier’s claim is ‘a lot of money’ they won’t hesitate to move the negotiation into a commercial dialogue to encourage reflection… fair play. Others have ‘payment-query’ processes that impose self-serving ‘timeframes’ for resolution of their claims, which if not met, leads to automatic deduction… collaborative, off-course?

When I read that in 2019 40% of suppliers reported a ‘code-related’ issue, I think ‘what is left to do’ is: guard hard-won gains, beware alchemists who promise something from nothing and fight for your Adjudicator… and their teeth.

Ben Lewis, client relationship director, Salitix

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