Archive for February, 2016

BID Insight: February 2016

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
Ballot results

Ten BIDs have been in ballot this month, with the final February result due to be announced 29th February. Keep an eye out for Ballot Watch on Monday to see a summary of the month’s results and the final announcements hot off the press.

Mayoral elections

It’s not just the BIDs that are hitting the campaign trail. A date has been announced for the first ever Manchester Mayoral ElectionsThe first Mayor of Greater Manchester will be elected on Thursday 4 May. The Mayor will have a range of new devolved powers, including: control of a £300m Housing Investment Fund, responsible for the Greater Manchester Police and a devolved transport budget. This result will be followed the next day by the London and Bristol Mayoral Elections.

Counter- terrorism – BIDs leading the way on communications and training

Since the appalling terror attacks in Paris, many of you have been in touch asking what systems and projects other BIDs have implemented in their attempts to plan for the unthinkable.

The Mayor challenges being reported relate to coordinating communications from multiple sources and making sure that the BID is sufficiently embedded within local policing and security partnerships to receive real-time information as situations develop. For BIDs that do not have their own wardens or dedicated Police this can be particularly difficult and can be a real test of strength of their local relationships.

Other challenges relate to the best means of disseminating information to diverse groups of businesses – from independent shop keepers without on-site access to email through to office buildings with large numbers of staff.

A key lesson to emerge is that there is no single solution to handling this issue and that multiple communications channels need to be exploited to keep getting the message out to members. has been at the forefront of developing new systems to support its members in combating the threat of terrorism and has recently launched a ‘UK-first’, developing a WhatsApp group supported by the Police for 25 of its largest businesses to report suspected terrorist activity. A single, dedicated manager at each business is allowed to be a member of the WhatsApp group in a move to cut out the hierarchies in organisations that can be a barrier to timely communications.

The system has been made possible in Angel, as the BID funds its own Police team and has its own mobile phone number for contacting the officers.

Christine Lovett, Chief Executive of, said ‘The system is particularly effective for organisations with large numbers of employees and many of our largest offices and supermarkets have signed up. Early warning through a WhatsApp alert can help them go into lockdown if required in the event of an attack, but the first point of call is always to dial 999.’

Confidentiality is critical as in many cases personal mobile numbers have been supplied to the group. All users are required to sign a confidentiality agreement before joining. Due to the restrictions of WhatsApp, the group is currently limited to 100 members. are clear that the scheme is just one of a number of systems for their members to report in concerns and information. It will work alongside the BID’s existing Shopwatch and radio scheme.

In the event of mobile networks going down during an attack, the BID will always rely on email as its back-up communication to get messages and updates out to all members. These systems were first developed during the riots of August 2011 and remain an important tool for security updates.

Other excellent examples of best practice coming through from BIDs include the Mansfield BID, who have enrolled their wardens on counter-terrorism, safeguarding and radicalisation training with the Community Safety Partnership. Following the Paris attacks, all the businesses in the area started to review their security processes and worked closely with the BID – itself a member of an innovative county-wide Business Crime Partnership – to develop a strategy for the town centre.

Radicalisation training for wardens is an interesting angle to this issue and is an example of where BIDs have engaged deeply with their communities to address local concerns. It sits very much within the objectives of the Home Office’s counter-extremism strategy. The wardens talk to local teenagers on a daily basis in the town centre area and are therefore ideally placed to make use of the training they have received to spot signs of radicalisation.

The Fitzrovia Partnership has also focused on providing training for its members and works closely with its borough Counter Terrorism Operations Team to arrange Argus Seminars (advising senior management on preparing a response to a serious event such as a terrorist attack at crowded places), Griffin briefings (community awareness and information sharing) and providing fraudulent document awareness training for employers.

The BID is clear that the community as a whole within the Fitzrovia area needs to have the knowledge and plans in place to respond to a major incident. It has initiated a Community Security Zone strategy group to help facilitate this. The group is chaired by the BID’s Operations Director – another example of BIDs successfully placing themselves at the heart of security networks in their areas.

We will be following this subject closely in the coming months and are very keen to hear of any other examples of best practice or innovations being developed by member BIDs.

Research, policy and comment

A presentation has been designed that captures the results of the 2015 Nationwide BID Survey is now available for download by British BIDs members.

Following this Telegraph article last month which didn’t make a single mention of BIDs’ financial contributions to policing, we surveyed our BIDs to understand the level of contribution made to policing in their own BID areas.

Of the 34 BIDs that responded ( response rate of 15% of UK BIDs), 41% are making direct financial contributions towards dedicated police patrols in their areas at an average annual contribution to almost £50,000.

The range of partnership working and security-related activity also undertaken by BIDs – even those not directly funding additional Police – is also impressive. 88% of respondents are engaged in partnership activity, in particular business crime reduction partnerships, and many fund wardens, ambassadors and street pastors. There is a huge array of security activity underway in BID areas, from radio schemes, to taxi marshalls, bike marking and secure-by-design advice. One BID has even delivered river safety training with the RNLI!

In policy and legislative developments, new powers to allow local Councils to extend Sunday trading hours are expected to be introduced in the autumn. The new measures, introduced via amendments to the Enterprise Bill, will give local retailers the flexibility to seasonally adjust hours to enable to compete better for business.  This measure has been introduced to help local businesses compete with online retailers, as well as take advantage of opportunities such as increased tourist spend. Measures such as this, combined with encouraging indicators such as the January Springboard footfall counts for 2016, which showed a 1.2% increase on the previous year ( the first rise in footfall since July 2013) and a small reduction in the national town centre vacancy rate, may give some hope to high street retailers of the long-term viability of the model.

New four-year financial settlements have been announced for local government, paving the way for Councils to generate and retain more revenues locally, including the retention of New Homes Bonus funding. Councils across England are forecasting a record-breaking £23.5 billion income from business rates next year, a rise in £400m. From 2020 Councils that encourage new growth will be allowed to keep 100% of business rates income.

BIDs In the news

There is growing interest in the Northern Powerhouse cities as a date is announced for the first Manchester mayoral election and Birkenhead makes the news for a planned £150m of investment.

Local media has trailed the forthcoming BID ballots in Hammersmith and Swansea as well as proposals for a new BID in Cardiff and Fleet and there has been positive coverage for the emerging Cheltenham BID and its investment plans as well as those for Newmarket.

A new BID manager has been appointed for Bournemouth Town Centre BID and a new Chair at Sutton Coldfield BID.

Have a look at Bath BID’s CEO’s comments on the importance of place-making to BIDs and a feature on investment into the Bigg Market Area of Newcastle.

And, as referenced in our counter-terrorism article, take a look at the coverage for’s ‘UK-first’ to use WhatsApp to combat terrorism. Please note that contrary the article, the system will not be used to share photos.

Don’t forget to tweet us your media coverage @BritishBIDs for us to share with the BID industry on your behalf.

Dates for your diary

We are pleased to report that the Certificate in BID Management course is already fully subscribed for 2016. Click here to see this year’s 10 delegates. If you would like to sign up for 2017, please contact Robyn to enquire further.

The next Marketing Forum (free to members) is scheduled for 25 May. The next Management and Operations Forum (also free to members) is scheduled for 2nd March. If you are unable to make the session, the subsequent one is scheduled for 6 July. Click here to see all BID Training Academy dates for 2016.

**Bb members discount for The Future High Street Summit 2016** British BIDs members can receive a discount on the event, with a £50 discount on a 1 day registration and a £70 discount on a full event ticket. If you would like this code please contact us and we will supply this for you.  Register for the event itself here.