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Harper Adams University Governor named as supermarket ombudsman

Posted 21 January 2013

Christine has a wealth of expertise and experience that she will be able to bring to the role. We are delighted that someone with a background in retail, and in farming, has been appointed to this important post.

Christine Tacon

A Harper Adams University Governor has been appointed by the Government as the UK’s first Groceries Code Adjudicator.

The creation of the post was first recommended by the Competition Commission in 2008 to resolve disputes between supermarkets and suppliers.

Christine Tacon, who was awarded a CBE for services to agriculture in 2004, will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the 10 largest supermarkets with an annual turnover of £1 billion and their direct suppliers.

Ms Tacon was appointed as a Governor of Harper Adams last year. Congratulating Ms Tacon, Dr David Llewellyn, Vice-Chancellor of Harper Adams University, said: “Christine has a wealth of expertise and experience that she will be able to bring to the role. We are delighted that someone with a background in retail, and in farming, has been appointed to this important post.”

The Groceries Code Adjudicator will have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the Code, including those arising from confidential complaints from any source.

Welcoming the appointment, Jo Swinson, Consumer and Competition Minister, said: “I congratulate Christine Tacon on her appointment as Groceries Code Adjudicator. This is an incredibly important position in the retail groceries sector making sure that large supermarkets treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully. Ms Tacon has a wide range of experience in the food, retail and farming industry and her appointment is a real milestone.

“Her knowledge of the sector will be of huge benefit, and I’m sure will be crucial in making the Groceries Code Adjudicator a positive and powerful contributor to the groceries industry.”

Ms Tacon, who was chairwoman of the 2011 Oxford Farming Conference and is chairwoman of the BBC Rural Affairs Advisory Committee, said: "Being the Groceries Code Adjudicator is a significant responsibility, and I am honoured to have been given the chance to make a permanent and enduring difference to the groceries sector. Coming from a commercial background, I am sure that if we can increase trust between retailers and their direct suppliers, it will lead to greater efficiency and can only have a beneficial impact on the rest of the supply chain."

The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which will formally create the office of the Adjudicator, is currently before Parliament. Ms Tacon will act as Adjudicator-Designate until the office of the Adjudicator is established by law, when she will formally take up the four year appointment.

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