Business Improvements Districts have been operating across the UK for over a decade, with the first BID starting in January 2005. There are over 270 BIDs set up around the UK, with over 50 being in London alone. Local successful BIDs include Love Wimbledon and Kingston First.
A BID is created when businesses in the BID area vote on a business plan which is tailored to respond to the needs of the businesses. This can typically include a safe and clean agenda, marketing, and business support. The formal ballot is open for 28 days and every business is given the opportunity to vote via a ballot paper. For a BID ballot to be successful it must be won on two counts:
- A straight majority by the number of those voting.
- A majority in the Rateable Value of those voting.
A BID term is typically for five years and then businesses go back to ballot based on a new business plan.
The BID was first established in Canada and the United States in the 1960s but has since expanded rapidly, existing globally in South Africa, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
In November 2016, 76% of businesses by number, 73% of businesses by rateable value with a 39% turn out voted for Putney to become a Business Improvement District. The Positively Putney Business Improvement District became operational in April 2017.
Positively Putney is funded by 409 businesses paying a small levy based on the rateable value of their property. This will achieve an investment of £1.4 million over the next five years. This money will be spent within the BID boundary on the goals laid out by the business plan. Projects and services must be additional to those provided by the local authority. It does not fund services already in place.