A new industry body has been launched to assist Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) across the UK.
The BID Foundation, operated by the Institute of Place Management (IPM) at Manchester Metropolitan University, says it will help BIDs manage town and city centre retail, leisure and other commercial areas more effectively.
The new membership organisation is an alliance of leading BIDs, which has been set up in response to wide-scale consultation, and is led by an elected council of 14 BID chief executives from across the country.
The industry body will provide strategic direction and practical support to BIDs and “champion the revitalisation of the high street and commercial areas by raising standards, sharing knowledge and resources, and building a trusted and representative voice”.
According to research from the IPM, the “fundamental reason” many commercial areas are struggling is that decision makers and stakeholders “do not adapt effectively to ongoing changes because they do not act collectively”.
The institute will also provide specialist support and accreditation to members of The BID Foundation to ensure “consistent high standards of operation, accountability, and transparency”.
Professor Cathy Parker, chair of the institute (pictured), says: “We know how important BIDs are and The BID Foundation offers a way to increase both the local impact of each BID involved and further develop the model as a trusted form of urban management.”
Andrew Cooper, chair of The BID Foundation and CEO of Leeds BID, adds: “BIDs will now be able to work together more successfully to encourage change and investment in our town and city centres.
“We want BIDs to make an even more significant contribution locally and nationally and we need to engage more meaningfully with local and national governments and the wider business community to do that.”
The BID concept started 15 years ago in the UK with the operational priorities of making areas cleaner, safer and more attractive. Today there are nearly 300 UK BIDs – investing a total of £110 million annually to UK towns and cities.