‘Top marks’ for Bradford BID in experts’ mid-term report on its progress

Bradford BID has been given a glowing report by independent experts half-way through its first five-year term.

Consultants called in to assess the progress of the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) – the limited not-for-profit company funded by more than 600 levy-paying businesses and organisations to help promote and develop the city centre – say BID levy-payers are “both considerably aware and considerably satisfied” with its work.

They say good progress has been made against the majority of Business Plan objectives, the BID communicates well with levy-payers and the BID team is focused on efficient delivery of the Business Plan.

BID chairman Ian Ward said: “Taking stock and reviewing performance is best practice for every business and BIDs are no exception. Halfway through our first five-year term was the ideal moment to check how we’re doing and whether we are meeting levy-payers’ needs. 

“We commissioned independent experts Heartflood to survey BID businesses to find out what they think and to thoroughly review our progress against the targets we set in our Business Plan. 

“It was not as straightforward as it might have been, given that the Covid-19 pandemic dominated much of the period, meaning many projects were curtailed and some postponed indefinitely. 

“Despite that, this is a highly encouraging and positive report which points the way ahead. We are never complacent (we know there are some lessons to learn) and this review will stimulate us to redouble our efforts to do the best we can for Bradford city centre and those who do business here.”

He told the BID’s annual meeting, at the Great Victoria Hotel, Bradford, that the full, detailed report was being printed and would be available to businesses in the next few weeks.

The review project included a comprehensive review of BID operations, including a survey of BID businesses in order to assess the views of BID levy-payers. 

As well as the survey, the assessment included several meetings with BID staff, visits to the city centre and a review of key BID documentation to allow an analysis of progress against the current Business Plan.

BID manager Jonny Noble said: “Bradford BID is steadily gaining a reputation as one of the best of its type in the UK, where there are now more than 330 active BIDs in place.

“The independent review was carried out last year when the BID also became one of the first in the country to achieve prestigious recognition for its high standards, when it was awarded the BID Foundation’s kitemark.”

Developed in consultation with BIDs, levy-payer groups and policymakers, including the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to provide a benchmark for quality and governance, the kitemark had only been awarded to ten BIDs at the time.

“We were incredibly proud to be awarded this recognition, especially as we’d only been in operation for two years at the time of assessment.

“We were determined, when we set up Bradford BID, to ensure that it was run as professionally and efficiently as possible so that our levy-payers would know they could trust us to use our income wisely and with their best interests at heart at all times – and this mid-term review shows we’re on the right track.”

The findings of the survey, conducted by Heartflood, showed approximately 70 per cent of respondents thought the BID had resulted in either some impact or considerable impact on the city centre its first two-and-a-half years and that less than 10 per cent felt it had had either a low impact or no impact.

The experts recommended that the BID continue with the progress and momentum made against the current Business Plan into the remaining BID term and concentrated on five key areas drawn from the survey: proactive morning cleansing (in addition to that carried out by Bradford Council); reactive cleaning when requested by businesses; encouraging visitors to stay longer to explore the city; market the city centre to attract new retailers; and work to promote the city nationally and beyond.

Levy-payers will be balloted on whether the BID is given a second five-year term late in 2023.

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