Message from the Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) Board and CEO:

As we approach the end of our second five-year term, it’s appropriate to reflect on the positive impact our projects and services continue to have in fostering and nurturing a healthier environment for business to flourish. Since 2010, the BID has played a key role in supporting and representing the businesses of Worcester City Centre and our second term was no exception. From stand-out Visit Worcester promotional campaigns, to successfully lobbying against the ‘Worcester Woods’

development and supporting a ‘High Street First’ approach to local planning policy; from the management of award winning safety partnerships, to saving you money through our cost saving initiatives, we have delivered on our promise to give value back to you, our levy payers.

The BID has enabled the business community to make our collective voice heard and crucially affect city centre policy decisions. The BID’s support of the City Centre Masterplan and Worcester‘s application to the central government High Street Fund ensures that businesses have an important stake in the future of our great city.

Through our partnership with levy-paying members and collaborative working with local organisations, Worcester BID has delivered against the aspirations set out by the business community when we began. Through our recent consultation we’ve listened to what you want to see more of, the issues which we need to address and shared ideas to make Worcester the very best it can be. We want to continue this work with you. A vote for another five years will mean a further £2 million plus invested in our city centre. That will allow us to build on the promotional work of Visit Worcester, lobby on your behalf about important city centre issues, and focus on the continuing development of key services in the city centre such as CityNet and BID Ambassadors. Together we are a stronger voice, and we look forward to more shared success.

We look forward to a third term and all that we can deliver for Worcester together.

Worcester Business Improvement District Board and CEO,
Phoebe Dawson


Worcester is a beautiful Cathedral and University City with a fascinating history, located in the heart of the West Midlands on the banks of the River Severn.

We boast a wealth of interesting architecture, top class sports teams and venues, combined with an unrivalled combination of independent boutiques and high street names, and a vibrant programme of events.

Worcester BID was established in 2010 with a vision to make Worcester a better place to shop, eat, play and live.

The past ten years have seen us deliver demonstrable change and progress across the range of key issues outlined in our Business Plan – a plan directly influenced by, and developed with, businesses within the city.

We have shown effective leadership and influence, representing the voice of the businesses during the creation of Worcester city centre masterplan and tourism strategy. We have provided regular business communications, weekly footfall reports, the DISC phone app and free training and workshops.

We have helped over 169 businesses directly through our operational projects CityNet, training, through the CityNet safety partnership and introduced the Best Bar None scheme for the nighttime economy, further supported by our BID Ambassadors and wider team.

Powerful tourism and visitor marketing has seen us support and deliver memorable experiences, from the Worc Food Fest, After Worc Feast St to the Worcester Motor Festival.

The BID has delivered seasonal campaigns with vibrant, high quality materials and continues to support imaginative events. Consequently Worcester continues to buck the national trend when it comes to footfall within the city centre. The BID’s recent investment in the Visit Worcester brand has seen the creation of the Visit Worcester website, which was jointly funded by Worcester BID and Worcester City Council and features profiles for all BID businesses. Worcester BID funds and is responsible for creating all engaging content for the Visit Worcester social media channels.

" Since 2018 I have found the new Worcester BID team to be absolutely brilliant. They are hugely enthusiastic, very motivated and approachable. The BID team are open to ideas from the businesses and always happy to listen and I feel it's key that Worcester retains the BID to enable us and the city to continue moving forward. "

— David Jon Hairdressers, Reindeer Court

£4M+

invested in the City Centre in the past ten years

Promoting Worcester and attracting more people in to the city centre (Visit Worcester social media, videos, The Social)Development
Improving the experience (spot cleaning on street, wayfinding, vacant window activation)
Saving costs for businesses (Utilities, waste, insurance, free training and workshops)
Managing city safety initiatives (City Net, Undercover store detectives, visible presence, BID Ambassadors, Best Bar None)
Representing the business community on city centre issues (Worcester Woods, Worcester Open4Business, Masterplan, EDL, PSPOs, roadworks)

Worcester BID is focused on delivering projects and services for your benefit, so it is important that we understand what is of greatest value to you.

We ran an extensive consultation process April to May 2019 to communicate with all businesses who will be voting in the renewal ballot. A consultation document was produced that was distributed in hard copy and digital format. The printed version was distributed to 100% of business voters and was also made available on our website and emailed out.

We followed up on this with direct contact and managed to reach over 55% of voters. Our third term will see us building on the strong foundations established over the past TEN years.

Your dedicated BID team will work to provide leadership and representation to champion business within the city and ensure a strong voice on the issues that matter most. We will enhance the trading environment and experience further, generating tangible value and cost savings for businesses, promoting and supporting those living, working and trading within the city – as well as inspiring new visitors to discover all we have to offer.

  • Promoting Worcester
  • Enhancing Worcester
  • Supporting Worcester

There is no replacement body that will deliver the objectives, projects and services outlined in this proposal.

We will grow Worcester’s profile by developing fresh ideas to attract people to the city. Building on the strength of our visitor focused brand, Visit Worcester, we will create new opportunities for our members to produce and showcase their business to the growing Visit Worcester audiences, as well as through other publications.

We will continue to invest in our seasonal campaigns and offer integrated and varied ways for businesses to be involved, be that through marketing, activities or events. Extended profiles for all BID members will allow businesses to directly promote and raise awareness of special events and offers.

This action will ensure we’re maximising busy periods of the year and boosting footfall during quieter periods of the year.

The BID will continue to invest in local, regional and national advertising which will encourage more people to come and experience Worcester for themselves.

We will use authentic photography and video to reflect the city’s welcoming and historical nature, generating positive press and social media coverage.

Worcester is steeped in heritage and, through collaborations with local partners, we will continue to work to bring in fresh people, opportunities and partnerships to showcase Worcester on the national and international stage, as well as build loyalty amongst those who live, work or regularly visit Worcester – improving the visitor experience for all.

£46,000+

advertising value for BID businesses across five issues of The Social magazine.

Working with local partners, we will build on our reputation as one of the happiest places to live in the UK by enhancing the local area to be as accessible and inclusive as possible, supporting BID businesses with relevant training and operational support to help the city achieve this status.

We will deliver projects to improve the walkability of the city centre and work with the partners to enhance the wayfinding system, as well as introduce new city trails to encourage visitors to explore different areas of the city, helping spread footfall and spend.

Working in association with partners, we will improve the streetscape and attractiveness of specific areas of our city centre, including a focus on reducing the visible impact of vacant units. We will also provide a new clean up service to BID members when a specific area of the city needs urgent attention, above and beyond that currently delivered by Worcester City Council.

Developing our active and supportive role within the Team Worcester working group, we will continue to manage and operate the business crime safety partnership CityNet and co-ordinate activity to support Worcester to achieve Purple Flag accreditation, promoting a safe and vibrant night-time economy.

An expanded BID Ambassador programme will provide businesses with an extra level of support, as well as improving the experience for visitors to the city. We will work with partners to develop and deliver an enhanced strategy for reducing antisocial behaviour in the city centre.

3,500,000+

people visited the city centre during the 10 week Worcester Stands Tall installation.

We are committed to the commercial wellbeing of the city centre. Our mission is to give the business community a voice to influence decision and policy making across local government. This will see us continuing to play an active role at local level and across the wider BID network, helping drive change and improvement on national policy affecting members.

We understand the importance of monitoring performance across the city centre, including footfall, and representing the business community on issues affecting trade, such as road works and connectivity. We will review our current footfall counters to determine if they are best placed to accurately record data on visitors and, if necessary, invest in improvements and enhancements in order to feedback and improve the management and development of the city further.

An important part of our role is to provide business with the intelligence it needs to stay ahead. We will continue to produce regular e-newsletters and weekly updates, from footfall trends to future transport and access issues. We make it our business to meet your business through one-to-one meetings, our City Sessions and other forums. This ensures we constantly listen to your views, so we can reflect them in our work.

Each year, we produce a transparent and detailed Annual Report to illustrate what has been achieved and what has still to be accomplished. This provides tangible progress reporting and return on investment for every business to see.

Over 70 different free training courses are available to BID members.

Increase of over

46%

in footfall to the city centre during After Worc Feast Street

Ballot FAQs

Worcester Business Improvement District is a business-led and business-funded body, working to improve and promote Worcester city centre as a place to live, work, visit and invest.

Following a successful renewal ballot, the second five-year term of Worcester BID started on 1st April 2015 and will run until 31st March 2020.

Worcester BID is now seeking a third term and will be going to ballot on 3rd October 2019. You can learn more about our plans for the third term by clicking here.

As a democratically elected, independent body, Worcester BID enables more than 600 businesses to work collectively to influence and impact on how Worcester city centre is managed and develops.

We are a Company limited by guarantee Registration No. 07188738 and operate under The Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004.

A BID can only be formed following consultation and a ballot in which businesses vote on a BID Proposal or business plan for the area.

The ballot is run by the local authority or outsourced by the local authority to a third party. All businesses eligible to pay the levy are balloted.

For a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts: straight majority and majority of rateable value. This ensures that the interests of large and small businesses are protected. There is no minimum turnout threshold.

The ballot is run independently by the local authority.*** % voter turnout, with ***% voting in favour and ***% by rateable value. This can be confirmed by Electoral Services.

All eligible businesses within the BID boundary with a Rateable Value exceeding £7,500 will be able to vote. And remember the BID can only go ahead if you vote YES.

No. Business rates are collected by Worcester City Council and redistributed at a national level. The council spends the allocated funding on services that are both statutory and discretionary, and businesses have very little say on what these services are. BIDs differ from this as the money is collected locally, ring-fenced and controlled and managed by you. It can only then be spent on initiatives detailed in business plan that you have agreed to. The BID levy does not pay for anything covered by your business rates.

Each year the BID will produce an annual performance report to show what the BID is delivering and the Return on Investment for levy payers.

Yes, if a majority vote in favour by number and rateable value, the levy will become mandatory. Payment of the levy carries the same enforcement as non-domestic rates.

The BID levy is charged at 1.5%  (1% for managed shopping centres) of rateable value of each hereditament within the BID area that has a rateable value of £7,500 RV or more on the prevailing rating list. Businesses below this threshold are exempt from paying the levy.

Worcester BID activity is delivered over and above the projects and baselined service levels provided by public agencies including the Local Authority.

The projects and services which will be delivered during the five year BID period are agreed and set out in Worcester BID’s 2015 -2020 Business Plan (and for the future 2020-2025 Business Plan).

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are defined and performance is monitored by the Worcester BID Board and respective committees

The annual budget is approved through the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors receive regular advice regarding the review and evaluation of projects from the management team prior to making further decisions on spend or reprofiling of expenditure.

Worcester BID has 14 positions on its Voluntary Board of Directors who are representative of levy payers in Worcester.  Board Director elections take place at our Annual Meeting in May each year where Directors can be re-elected.

A BID is a Business Improvement District that enables coordinated investment in the management and marketing of a commercial area.

BIDs are now recognised as the most sustainable model of place management with over 300 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in the UK.

Governed by legislation to ensure fairness and transparency, a BID is created for a five year period following a successful ballot.

To succeed at ballot the BID must pass a dual key mechanism – a majority by number and by size (RV) of those who vote and there is no turnout threshold.

The BID ballot, which is a 28-day postal ballot, is run by Worcester City Council as the local authority and therefore the “ballot holder”. BID regulations state that:

14.—(1) As soon as practicable after the day of the ballot, the ballot holder shall make arrangements for counting the votes cast on such of the ballot papers as have been duly returned (in accordance with paragraph 13(1)) and record the number counted. (2) No person other than the ballot holder and his clerks may be present at the counting of the votes, unless permitted by the ballot holder to attend.”

The reason the ballot papers are counted in private is that business and contact names are on the ballot papers, and how a business votes is private.

The responsibility lies with Worcester City Council’s ballot holder to decide who to issue the notice of ballot and then the subsequent ballot paper to. It is then up to the recipient to decide whether they have the jurisdiction within their business to cast the vote. In the event that a business feels the ballot paper should be re-issued to another person within the business, a proxy application can be made to the Electoral Services Department of Worcester City Council. The deadline for proxy applications is 5pm on Monday 21 October 2019.

No. We have established a baseline service provision from the local authorities. They can be found here:

No. A positive result in the ballot will mean that all eligible businesses over the threshold and within the BID boundary are required by law to pay for a 5 year period.

Worcester BID is principally financed by a levy which is 1.5% of rateable value from eligible businesses and organisations within the BID area. Once a ballot is established in favour of a BID, the BID levy is mandatory for eligible businesses irrespective of how or whether they voted.

The BID levy is paid annually by the occupiers of a property and collected by Worcester City Council. It is then transferred to Worcester BID for use on the projects and services agreed in Worcester BID’s Business Plan.

BID businesses are represented by the BID Company which is governed by a voluntary board of directors from a range of sectors and organisations in the BID area.  Levy payers’ views are regularly sought through feedback, forums and individual meetings.

Whilst businesses under the threshold receive the halo benefits of the BID place marketing and improvement projects, we offer a Voluntary BID Membership which enables non-levy payers to be more involved.

As per the Business Improvement District Regulations 2004, Businesses who are below the threshold or outside the BID area and therefore not required to pay the levy, do not have voting rights in any formal ballot.

To keep members updated on activity and progress, Worcester BID provides:

  • Annual reports posted to your business and available online
  • City sessions– every 6-8 weeks
  • Weekly email bulletins. If you don’t receive these please contact us
  • One-to-one meetings with Worcester BID’s Team and Directors