A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led partnership working within a defined geographical area where business rate payers agree by ballot to pay a levy into a fund for a fixed period. Specific agreed initiatives are then delivered to improve the area for businesses.
The ballot needs to see a majority of businesses in the area supporting the BID, the exact requirements are laid down by law and vary depending on the country. Providing the necessary majorities are obtained, then all businesses in the area who were eligible to vote, have to pay the levy for the period the BID is in existence.
BIDs operate in a defined geographical area. This can vary from just a few streets, through the bulk of a town or city centre, to a wider area where businesses of a particular type agree to pay the extra levy. The majority of BIDs are in town and city centres but others can be found in commercial areas, industrial estates, business parks, and some BIDs focused on tourism cover a much wider area.
BIDs are not restricted in the services they provide, as long as these are agreed to by businesses, though local authorities do have the right to veto proposals. Most BIDs are established as not-for-profit companies and have a Board of Directors drawn from businesses in the area who are levy payers together often including representatives of the local authority. Such BIDs employ staff or appoint consultants to implement the business plan as agreed at the ballot and to deliver the activities and services.
In April 2019, The BID Foundation released the 'State-of-the-Art' report, a detailed study into BIDs in the UK, which sets the agenda for policy, practice and research in the sector.
"The BID Foundation is leading the way and this report puts us at the very centre of the debate. This report will further shape the role BIDs will play in developing commercial and industrial centres, linking real-life place management practices with regional and national policymakers. We welcome you to join our conversation and help us drive forward a positive policy agenda for BIDs and the places they serve."
Bill Addy, Chair