Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are not for profit partnerships within a defined area, in which the local businesses have voted to invest together to improve their environment. A BID is brought in through a democratic ballot process and the services provided are additional to those delivered by the Council.

BID Strategy

There are over 300 BIDs in the UK, with continued annual growth, suggesting an increasing benefit to the local business communities where BIDs are operating. There are currently c50 BIDs at a development stage, double that at the same time in 2018 further confirming their increasing popularity, not just amongst the business community but within the public and third sectors given the significant reductions in public funding over the past 5-10 years.

A successful BID has to have ‘buy-in’ from the majority of those who will finance it – both for a successful vote and also to ensure the partnership evolves in a positive environment.

A BID seeks to provide greater strategic context for business, galvanize the business community, statutory authorities and wider stakeholders behind a common vision for the district and generate an enhanced income stream which would benefit the whole area in terms of service provision. It would provide the business community with an ability to influence and help shape the future.

How BIDs work

  • Return on investment
  • A better environment for business
  • A more effectively managed and sustainable district
  • A destination of choice for visitors, businesses and residents alike
  • Effective engagement with the wider community

BID Proposals

Governed by Government legislation and regulations, BIDs are statutorily established once voted for by the majority of businesses in an area and have a maximum term of five years before returning to their electorate for renewal. Once a majority vote had been achieved, a BID levy becomes mandatory on all defined ratepayers.

The ballot needs to satisfy two tests – a majority in number of those voting and a majority in proportion of rateable value of those voting. The BID levy can only come into effect if these two tests are met. The BID levy is then applicable to all eligible businesses. All eligible businesses in a proposed BID area are entitled to one vote per hereditament. Some businesses occupying more than one hereditament within the area may therefore be entitled to more than one vote.

To ensure neutrality, the BID ballot is administered by the Council Returning Officer and their electoral services staff. It is arranged in line with rules set out in the BID regulations (2004) as approved by Parliament.