Open For Business

A BID is a way for businesses in a defined area to decide and agree collectively on projects and initiatives that they want to be delivered to help their business thrive.

To decide what those projects should be, a thorough programme of consultation is carried out, including questionnaires, newsletters, surgeries, one to one meetings and open meetings. 


Following that consultation a business plan is written which includes those suggested priorities. The BID Business Plan varies from BID to BID according to the needs and priorities of each BID area. When the Business plan or proposal document has been agreed, all eligible businesses in the area have the opportunity to vote ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the BID in a formal ballot. 


For The BID to proceed, there must be a majority vote in favour both by number and rateable value. I.e. a majority of those businesses that vote (the turnout) must vote in favour (a YES vote), and the total rateable value of those businesses that vote in favour must be greater than the total rateable value of those that vote against the scheme.


If the BID achieves this vote, the BID becomes a statutory obligation on both the BID proposer (the BID company) and the BID voters. The BID Company is obliged to deliver the scheme for the lifetime of the BID (max 5 years), and there is a statutory charge on all the eligible premises within the BID areas to pay an annual levy to fund the BID payable by the ratepayer.


BIDs work on a very simple principle where every business involved benefits and contributes equally. Smaller businesses pay less, and larger businesses pay more but each contributes the same percentage. Together a fund is created to deliver a Business Plan which has the power to make a real difference.


By ensuring everyone contributes, BIDs eliminate the free-loader effect, which tend to make other schemes fail. BIDs are fair and they have also proved to be highly effective. If the majority of businesses vote YES, thE BID business plan becomes a legal document and all businesses will contribute (even if they voted no at the ballot). Each year the BID Company is legally obliged to publish an audit of its delivery against targets of the BID plan. Voters have the right to see this and hold the company to account.



A BID can be set up anywhere there is a collection of business premises and owners that want to make a difference. These include: Industrial Centres, Trading Estates, Businesses Parks, City Centres, and town centres of all types. The great majority of BIDs are voted in for a first term.  Of all the BIDs that have gone to ballot for a second term over 90% have been approved for a further term by an increased majority, and a handful have now entered a third term.