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Frequently asked questions about a Business Improvement District (BID)?

What are BIDs?

An arrangement whereby businesses get together, decide what improvements they want to make in their town centre, how they will manage these and what it will cost them. 

This all goes into a business plan which is voted on by all those who would have to pay.  The BID lasts for a maximum of 5 years and must be able to demonstrate how it benefits the businesses that have funded it.

Have BIDs been supported elsewhere in the UK?

Since September 2004 when this legislation was introduced, there have been over 120 BIDs in the UK, which over the next 5 years will bring in nearly £250 million of new finance to develop their town centres.

What might a BID deliver?

It’s up to you – your voice, your vote.

BIDs can deliver any projects or services that are agreed by the businesses in the BID area and that are over and above anything that the Public Sector provides. 

In most cases they include marketing and promotional activities, increasing safety and security for businesses and customers and enhancing the customer experience.  The important thing is that the BID is focused on delivering the operational projects as determined by detailed consultation with all businesses in the BID area.

Why do businesses support BIDs?

A BID is a mechanism which allows businesses to raise a sum of money to manage and deliver projects that they have identified and believe will improve their trading environment, ultimately increasing trade for those businesses who are paying for the improvements. 

Who can develop a BID?

A BID can be proposed by any business ratepayer, property owner, local authority or other key stakeholders with an interest in the BID area.

Who pays for a BID?

Once projects and services have been agreed by businesses, these are costed up.  The cost to each business is worked out on a pro rata basis.  ‘This is called the ‘BID LEVY’. 

A formal vote then takes place on the agreed projects and services and if the majority vote YES then ALL within the BID area HAVE to pay. 

The BID levy is normally paid by the occupiers of a property.  In addition BIDs can draw in other voluntary funding, grants and ‘in-kind’ contributions to supplement the BID levy.

I want to pay my BID by Direct Debit

The easiest way to pay your BID is by Direct Debit. Paying by Direct Debit takes away the hassle of remembering to write and send in a cheque, renew a standing order or queue at a bank.
Once set up the Direct Debit continues each year and you remain protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee. You will be sent a notification once a year of the amount to be taken from your account.

If you wish to pay by Direct Debit click here to download mandate and post back to us.

How will the BID be managed?

BIDS are normally controlled and managed by local businesses that are paying the levy, currently the majority of successful BIDs are delivered through a Company Limited by Guarantee. 

The BID company would be responsible for the delivery of the BID projects and services and directly responsible to all businesses through a board elected from those businesses that pay the BID levy.

How does an area become a BID?

Normally a ‘BID Task Group’ is set up which is responsible for  putting together a detailed business plan setting out the projects it aims to deliver on behalf of the businesses in the BID area. 

This is based on a detailed consultation process with businesses.  The business plan will include the projects, cost, delivery guarantees, performance indicators and the management structure.

A confidential postal vote is held, all the businesses that would pay the BID levy get a vote.  To become a BID a majority of those that vote must be in favour by number and rateable value. 

A successful BID then has a mandate for a maximum of 5 years after which the BID would need to seek a re-ballot.

Does this mean the Local Authority will stop delivering services?

BID money can only be used to carry out projects/services ADDITIONAL to those that public services have to provide.  Prior to the BID Business Plan being produced the current services being delivered by all public agencies including the Local Authority and Police are baselined/benchmarked. 

The BID company can agree to provide additional resources to deliver a higher level of service over and above the baselined/benchmarked level if this is what businesses have identified.

How is a BID monitored?

Like any good business plan, specific key performance indicators (KPI’s) are set and performance is monitored against the KPI’s by the BID board. 

The BID company is answerable to the businesses who pay the BID levy, and will be required to monitor and inform its members on its progress towards the agreed KPI’s.