All the answers you need to start your BID process, in one place

Frequently Asked Questions

A BID is a Business Improvement District. BIDs are part of the Government’s long-term strategy to encourage partnership working between a local authority and the business community. A BID is a defined area within which rate-paying businesses decide on new improvements to help shape the future of their area – and then vote to agree the investment. This money is then ring-fenced to provide the improvements agreed through the BID strategy.

BIDs see improvements to business profitability and turnover which would not have happened otherwise.

Essentially a BID is designed to be for businesses, controlled by businesses.

A BID normally lasts for five years but can last for less time. A BID can be renewed for future periods, but needs to go through a successful renewal process.

There should be a range of options to encourage businesses to get involved. All businesses should have the opportunity to put their view forward. Working with  the BID Steering Group our consultation process includes one to one surveying, on line surveys, workshops and open meetings, as well as coverage in the local press and digital media.

The vision and objectives of the BID are determined by the businesses, as part of the consultation process. The vision and objectives have to be explained in the BID Proposal and  Business Plan that the businesses  vote upon. The action plans drawn up during the BID’s lifetime will all relate back to these objectives.

It is recommended that a non profit making company is formed, normally a company limited by guarantee which has its own management board and is established to administer the BID. This not-for-profit company has a board made up of volunteer individuals who represent the cross section of businesses and organisations across the area. BID boards normally appoint a project manager and support staff to implement the projects identified in the plan.

These can be employed directly by the BID or via a specialist project management company (pfbb UK) which will also then offer strategic support.

The development of a BID can be funded with the support of the area Council, a town/area partnership, a group of businesses providing direct funding, or through a funding loan (note a funding loan requires repayment).

If the vote is successful, the BID itself is funded by the businesses in the BID and aims to be both fair and transparent. If the majority of businesses vote for the BID, all businesses in the area will be subject to an additional levy to their rates. This overcomes the problem of a few businesses paying for improvements that benefit many. A BID often serves as a catalyst for change and brings in more investment to the area.

The businesses decide. Once once the BID strategy has been drawn up, all businesses in the area are asked to vote on whether they would like it to go ahead. For the BID to proceed, those who vote in favour must represent a majority of the vote by number of votes and aggregate rateable value.

Yes , BIDs can be towns, cities, or industrial estates, or areas in parts of these.

Businesses from the area come together to create a representative body of people to develop this project. This ‘BID Steering Group’ should represent businesses from all business sectors, sizes and types. It is highly recommended that a recognised and experienced specialist consultancy such as pfbb UK is appointed by the group to ensure that they stand the best chance of success in this one off opportunity.

It is essential that the businesses in the area determine the activities and objectives of the BID Business Plan. A series of business interviews, workshops, surveys and other research will be carried out to determine:

  • What improvements businesses located in the BID area would like to make
  • Why people visit the BID area and what would encourage them to visit more and stay longer

Using all the input from the businesses across the area, and working with the BID Steering Group, pfbb UK will develop a business plan and lead local representatives and the local authority through the legal requirements to create the framework for the BID.

Improvements are made if the majority of ratepayers in a designated area approve them through a vote. This enables businesses to have a direct role in deciding what improvements should be made in their location. After five years, the businesses will vote again on whether they want the BID to continue and what they want to improve over the next five years.

The BID boundary will be determined by you, the businesses, as part of the consultation process. The final decision of the exact boundary takes into account key land marks, synergies between the different aspects of the potential BID area  and the potential levy to be raised.

A BID will not replace the existing services provided by the local authority –  these will be baselined and bench-marked and monitored by the BID Company to ensure that the money generated through the BID is used for the improvements voted for by the businesses in the BID. A BID is about additionality.

Businesses identify the issues that they want tackled by the BID in the town, city or  the industrial area. A BID will:

  • Deliver a pragmatic and business driven agenda
  • Be business led
  • Benefit from effective partnership with the public sector
  • Deliver sustained investment to improve the town over a five-year period
  • Focus on achieving positive and measurable outcomes of benefit to all businesses

Businesses vote on how much money they want to pay towards the BID. A levy is charged to all businesses. This levy is based on the rateable value of your premises. On average this levy is usually set at between 1% and 2% of the rateable value. The money that is collected is ring-fenced to make and manage the improvements that businesses have voted for.

A BID can decide on the structure and criteria of its levies and may wish to consider a flat rate, a tiered charging system or capped rates. This is outlined in the business plan.

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