What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District is a business-led and business-funded partnership, created through a ballot process, to deliver additional services to local businesses and to improve a defined area of a town or city.

Businesses within the ‘BID’ boundary agree to make a collective contribution towards maintenance, development, and promotion of their commercial district.

They can be a powerful tool for directly involving local businesses in local activities and allow the business community and local authorities to work together to improve the local trading environment.

Where else has a BID?

So far in the UK most BIDs that have sought a second term at re-ballot have been successful – with an increase in both turn out and β€˜yes’ votes. And those seeking a third term have seen even higher support. There are currently 290 BID’s in the UK, with 12 of those being based in Birmingham.

How does it work?

A BID must be agreed by ballot and is funded in whole or in part by a levy on those liable for non-domestic rates. Businesses also must vote on schemes, projects and initiatives that they feel will most benefit the area, as well as how long the BID itself will run for. Business Improvement Districts are partnerships between Local Authority and Local Businesses, however, the levy raised is ring fenced to be spent only within the BID area.

A BID is managed and operated by a BID Company – a non-profit company run by and for its members. Most BIDs are governed by a board made up of BID levy payers representing the BID area. Any levy-paying business owner can nominate themselves to become a Director of the BID Company, or can sit on a Committee that oversees certain BID projects. Some BID’s choose to employ a Town Centre Manager to act as a representative of the area and to oversee the BID Plan. The BID Company can also choose to appoint contractors to undertake certain duties, such as a caretaker, security guard, or a PR & Marketing agency.

There is no limit on what projects or services can be provided through a Business Improvement District. The only requirement is that it should be something that is in addition to services provided by local authorities. Improvements may include, but are not limited to: extra safety/security, cleansing, events and marketing, environmental measures, and B2B networking.

Usually Business Improvement Districts charge a levy rate of between 1% and 4% of rateable value. The money raised may be used to leverage other funding and investment, such as grants and matched funding.

A BID term normally runs for five years. After five years a BID holds a renewal ballot based on a further proposal.

In a nutshell… Businesses, usually with the help of consultants or local authority officers, identify the area and the issues. A BID Proposal is drawn up that includes delivery guarantees, performance indicators and management structure. The proposed programme of services is additional to those provided by the local authority and can not be used to replace existing public sector services. Non-domestic ratepayers (who will be paying the BID levy), vote on the BID Proposal in a postal ballot conducted by the local authority. Following a successful ballot the levy becomes mandatory on all defined ratepayers. Any necessary enforcement of payment is undertaken in the same way as it is for business rates.

All Digbeth business owners are invited to help launch the Digbeth BID. Get in contact with us here if you’d like more information about how you can get involved.