The evolution of London’s Business Improvement Districts

This 2016 report documents the impact of 36 high street and town centre Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in London. It covers the state of play at the time of research, their impact, collaboration and partnership working, and the opportunities and threats they face. It also provides best practice case studies and recommendations for the future.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This 2016 report documents the impact of the 36 high street and town centre Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in London at the time of study. The report begins by detailing the emergence of London BIDs, tracing their growth over time; BID ballot turnout; levy income; employment; funding; and BID types. Next, funding policy challenges are identified and discussed, including issues around austerity, devolution, and business rate reform.

Several key impacts and roles that BIDs provide are detailed, including as service providers for local communities (e.g. cleaning, environmental management, safety initiatives, place-shaping and marketing); catalysts and enablers of innovation; influencers and campaigners; convenors and conduits; and as research repositories. The report also explores the partnership working of BIDs and drivers of collaboration, including with other BIDs, local community, industry and trade bodies, local authorities, amongst other stakeholders. Finally, the importance of effective BID management and governance is highlighted.

The report also identifies several key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing London’s BIDs (p.11), some of which are summarised below, with funding, awareness, and collaboration emerging as key themes.

London BIDs SWOT analysis

London BID Strengths - can provide enhanced services to areas; create improvements in area safety; and advocate on behalf of members and the area.

London BID Weaknesses - don’t always have funds to match ambitions; difficulties of demonstrating economic impact; and can be stakeholder tensions and conflicts.

London BID Opportunities - could reduce costs through more shared services; help to build partnerships between area stakeholders; and link BIDs work on CSR into place-based giving initiatives.

London BID Threats - budget pressures and increasingly competitive funding landscape; capacity constraints hindering collaboration; and potential issues with insufficient stewardship of the BID.

The report concludes by proposing some future recommendations for BIDs, including quick wins and longer-term objectives, and best practice case studies are provided throughout.