Grocery Code Adjudicator sets out 4 guiding principles to maintaining supply during COVID-19

The Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) has provided the following 4 guiding principles to assist retailers and suppliers deliver continuity of supply to consumers, as far as this remains possible, given significant pressures on staffing and some customer buying habits during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  1. Nothing in the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (the Code) requires any regulated retailer to break any other legal requirement. The Code should be read compatibly with all other legal obligations placed on regulated retailers.
  2. The GCA cannot offer a view as to whether current circumstances amount to force majeure.
  3. From a practical point of view, retailers will want to agree a way with suppliers to meet the most pressing objectives of the situation as it develops. The GCA would expect all parties to work together constructively to achieve this.
  4. Examples include effective communication on both sides, and an appreciation that e.g. reasonable notice provisions in the Code will need to be considered in light of the rapidly changing situation. Notice periods may need to be short to address challenges at the earliest possible opportunity. Suppliers should not wait to raise issues with retailers.

The GCA also offers links to employers and businesses for Government advice on all practical aspects of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

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