BRADFORD Business Improvement District (BID) has become one of the first in the country to achieve prestigious recognition for its high standards – despite being only two years old.
To date, only 10 BIDs – out of more than 330 nationwide – have been awarded The BID Foundation’s kitemark, which has been developed in consultation with BIDs, levy-payer groups and policy-makers, including the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to provide a benchmark for quality and governance.
Jonny Noble, Bradford BID manager, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be awarded this recognition, especially as we’ve only been in operation for two years. The first seven BIDs to achieve it were well-established organisations that took part in an initial pilot so, in effect, Bradford is one of the first three to have got there under our own steam. So we’re enormously pleased that all that hard work has been recognised and the industry itself has rated our achievements to date so highly.”
The BID Foundation’s Industry Standards were launched in December 2020 to help increase the transparency, accountability and professionalism of the industry and are designed to drive and embed best practice across the sector. They include 11 tests for BIDs, ranging from how easy the BID is to contact and to access information from, to important measures to ensure they are public and transparent.
The Standards cover key aspects of a BID’s structure and operations including its business plan, governance and reporting, directors and personal interests, and detail on ballot results. They have been introduced as a result of recommendations made following recent research into the BID sector and its development in the UK.
To win accreditation, BIDs must pass a rigorous assessment process, completed independently by the Institute of Place Management (IPM). Following submission of evidence from BIDs, an audit is completed to ensure a BID’s online presence and information on its structures and processes meet the Industry Standards. The process normally involves feedback and suggested revisions in order to become compliant with the standards, with further audits undertaken on additional evidence provided by each BID. The kitemark is awarded for a 12-month period, with compliance reviewed after this time to ensure continuing transparency and quality in the sector.
Bradford BID chairman Ian Ward, who is also general manager of The Broadway shopping centre, said winning the accreditation at such an early stage, and with the pandemic going on throughout half of the BID’s existence, was a “remarkable accomplishment.”
Mr Ward said: “It’s a fantastic achievement by Jonny Noble and his small-but-perfectly-formed team. They have worked extremely hard to achieve this, both before and during lockdown, and it’s a real testament to their determination to do the right thing for Bradford and it’s often hard-pressed businesses. We are also blessed with an enormously supportive and engaged operating board, who play a really active role in overseeing the running of the BID and ensuring that we maintain high standards at all times. We have very high attendance at all our monthly board meetings – far more so than with other BIDs I have worked with – and it really shows in the quality of our work and the ideas and imagination invested in everything we have achieved to date. It’s still early days for Bradford BID and, even though our third year has begun in difficult circumstances with the national lockdown, I am very confident that this accreditation will put an extra spring in our step and the city centre will reap the benefits when the restrictions are eased and we can all start getting properly back on our feet.”