The BID Foundation has been launched following an extensive consultation with more than 100 BIDs and key stakeholders as to the needs of the industry. The consultation was commissioned by a group of BIDs who wanted to develop their industry. The report on the consultation was published by Rocket Science and can be read here.

In response to the Rocket Science report, a group of BIDs selected the Institute of Place Management to work with to develop a new body that would be industry-led and achieve the objectives identified from the consultation and subsequent discussions. With a working title of the BIDs Alliance, the new body now emerged as The BID Foundation and been developed through the dynamic input of members, in particular those who have agreed to serve on the Council.

A maturing industry

Although the first BIDs in the UK only came into being in 2005, there are now almost 300 of them across the UK and Ireland serving major cities, town centres, commercial and industrial areas, business parks, and more recently tourism destinations.

Given the rapid spread of BIDs, it is perhaps only right that questions are now being asked about how they will develop over the next decade or so. These questions are coming from businesses who pay for BIDs, from government at all levels, and, most significantly, from BIDs themselves:

  • How can BIDs best demonstrate the value for money they offer businesses and other levy payers?
  • How can BIDs demonstrate their relevance and importance to local government so that they are seen as valued and core partners in local policy making and action?
  • Can BIDs be an effective partnership mechanism for community and public/private initiatives that would bring new resources and funding to an area?
  • Can major corporates be engaged in supporting BIDs and potentially bringing investment?
  • What opportunities are there for BIDs to work together to realise their leading role in tackling local problems with global reach?
  • How should BIDs adapt to the changing environment in which they operate so they remain effective, valued and trusted?
  • As BIDs have matured in the UK, is it now time to look at longer BID periods for those with higher mandates, at more opportunities for property owner engagement and at the potential for business rate retention to support BIDs?

Great effort has been put into establishing and growing the concept of BIDs, but, during this time much has changed, not least the dramatic evolution of retailing in town and city centres where the majority of BIDs operate. Other significant technological, societal, environmental and political changes are also impacting on the places that BIDs operate, as well as impacting upon the economy, the labour market and national security.

If BIDs are to maintain their impact on the places they serve and deliver for the businesses that fund them in the longer term, then they need to adapt and innovate. The BID Foundation has been established to provide the strategic direction and support this requires.

Main photo above courtesy of We Are Waterloo BID