The search for the first groceries code adjudicator is underway.
The Department for Business Innovation & Skills is running job ads for the role, which has a pro-rata salary of £98,000-£120,000 for a three day week - the same working week as the chairman of the Office of Fair Trading.
A spokesman for BIS told The Grocer it was keen to receive applications from “anyone with experience in retail, the supply or the farming industry who understands the relationship between retailers and direct suppliers”.
Mediation skills would also be key, he added, and the successful candidate would need to be “objective” and “effectively manage the relationship between retailers and suppliers”.
However, lawyers warned that appointing an adjudicator with industry experience who wasn’t closely aligned to either retail or the supply chain would be a challenge.
The job description suggested BIS could be interested in an objective adjudicator from outside the industry altogether, said Rona Bar-Isaac, a lawyer at Addleshaw Goddard, who specialises in advising clients on the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.
“The job description talks about retail experience being desirable but not essential,” she said. “The focus is on mediation and dispute resolution. The wording is almost appealing for a former litigator - and I am not sure that is the best fit for this role.”
BIS confirmed the adjudicator would be supported by a deputy adjudicator and a team of up to 10 civil servants from BIS and possibly Defra. They are expected to be full-time positions.
A shadow organisation is expected to be in place by January. Subject to parliamentary process, the Groceries Code Adjudicator will be up and running by April next year.