March's BID Insight from Chris Turner


This Insight for March heralds the beginning of spring, and BIDs are becoming increasingly active with events, experiences, festivals and some very key strategic activities with local authorities and other stakeholders.

There have been seven ballots in the last four weeks, with successes for Reading, Reading Abbey Quarter, Lanark, Visit Inverness Lochness, Royston and Brackmills. Sadly, Gloucester Road in Bristol narrowly failed in their renewal ballot. 

One key issue for new developing BIDs is the availability of funding to ease the start-up process. The latest tranche of loan funding has now been made available and British BIDs ran two Loan Fund Support workshops last week, on the loan application and BID development process. There was much interest and clearly a growing number of BIDs with innovative and interesting proposals are starting to plan their ballots.

Last month saw the publication of the British BIDs National BID Criteria 2019, developed with national levy payers to produce guidelines that allow them to best support BIDs at ballot. The Criteria are available to download from the British BIDs website here. The guidelines are developed by the National BIDs Advisory Board (NBAB) which meets three times a year and brings together a cross-section of national levy payers, BIDs and Local Authorities. Membership and information about the NBAB is available on the British BIDs website here.

One key service that British BIDs provides for its members is a list of the names of staff at the national levy payers who vote in BID ballots. We have some 476 names on our database and Mel Richardson is the contact for information about these national BID levy payers. Her email is mel.richardson@britishbids.info 

One of the major tasks of the NBAB is the granting of Accreditation to BIDs. Accreditation is a key kitemark for the BID industry, and provides BID boards and levy payers with confidence in the operations and effectiveness of a BIDs. Some 21 BIDs have currently been accredited, with several in the pipeline over the next few months. The Advisory Board was very pleased to award Accreditation to Newcastle-under-Lyme and Fleet at its meeting last month. The certificates will be awarded at the National BIDs Conference in November. 

It is exciting to announce that the Great British High Street Award is returning for 2019 “to recognise and celebrate the achievements of high streets up and down the country”; the High Street team is back visiting cities and towns across the country and for those who have an interest in submitting, visit their website here.  A large number of BIDs applied last year and Altrincham, with its BID, was the champion award winner for England. British BIDs were involved with a number of the applications last year and are very happy to help again this time round. Feel free to please email me, chris.turner@britishbids.info

One key task that many of us have been involved in during the last few weeks has been expressions of interest to The Future High Streets Fund. The deadline is this week, March 22, and I know that for many of us it has been a busy time providing data to Local Authority colleagues as part of the process. We all look forward to hearing the outcomes of the first phase and the process of moving onto the next phase. This is a key part of the Government's support for high streets, and making sure they are fit for the future.

The British BIDs Professional Development Day in Watford is very pertinent to all of these discussions. The day is an opportunity to learn how a co-ordinated approach to place management can work successfully to benefit a town centre or place. Full details can be viewed here. Attendees will benefit from understanding the roles of the BID, local authority and private sector in the successful approach used in Watford in these challenging times. Taking place at Watford on April 11th it will include a walking tour of the town, studying the BID at close quarters. If you are interested in attending please email Drew, drew@britishbids.info.

As ever, a whole range of courses and workshops are taking place and the key ones coming up are Developing and renewing a BIDAn Introduction to BIDsDelivering a successful BID ballot campaignLocal Authority: Setting up and monitoring a BID, and Governance and Responsibilities of a BID Board. We also are increasing our on-site courses, working with individual BIDs or Local Authorities on specific issues. We continue to assist dozens of established and developing BIDs on a weekly basis with technical advice, support and queries. We are able to provide knowledge on scenarios including BID development, governance, finances, levy rules and renewals. We engage with around 100 queries a month and are always happy to help with issues however complicated! Email me on, chris.turner@britishbids.info 

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs


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