FWD column: A fantastic result

As FWD takes home top award for its work representing wholesale, CEO James Bielby reflects on the win and on the importance of FWD’s role in representing the sector

It was a great night for FWD at the Trade Association Forum Awards on Thursday 22 February as the team won the award for Sector Representation of the Year.

This award is a demonstration of how FWD adds value to your business by successfully representing the interests of food and drink wholesalers within Westminster.

This prestigious award was sponsored by the Department for Business & Trade, one of the seven government departments that we regularly meet with. We won it for our work to protect the supply of school food from wholesalers in response to government plans to centralise national supply.


Crown Commercial Services, who were appointed by the Cabinet Office to launch a centralised framework for public sectors settings, was significantly downgraded due to the lobbying efforts of FWD. Together, with the support of our wholesale members, we were able to demonstrate that this initiative would prove, among other things, to be anti-competitive and risked contradicting Defra’s pledge to ensure 50% of public sector food was sourced from SMEs.

One of the key roles of a trade association is to represent its members robustly in order to affect change on those policies which directly impact you. It is fantastic to be recognised as the best in class among our peer group for doing so.

One of the head judges on the panel said: “The judges, which included government officials, were impressed with the planning and results of the campaign, and the way FWD worked with government departments to bring them on board as supporters rather than opponents, ultimately resulting in an impressive win for members.”

Over the years, FWD has gained a reputation for its excellent engagement with government and opposition parties, regularly meeting with Defra, Beis, DfT, Home Office, DHSC, DfE and Desnz.


This award really is a fantastic win for FWD and its members. Public affairs is a key focus for us as a trade association and an area we have invested heavily in over the last five years. It is great to gain recognition for that, and to know that we are the best in class when it comes to representing our members’ interests in Westminster. We will continue to campaign with the full force of our well-established public affairs team and look forward to building on this success.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.

award FWD FWD column James Bielby Members