Frequently Asked Questions

Swansea BID was formed in 2006 following a consultation process with the businesses, followed by a ballot in which businesses voted on the BID business plan that was developed based on the consultation results.

Businesses in Swansea City Centre were asked to vote in May 2006 on whether they would like to set up and in 2011 and 2016 they voted to renew the Business Improvement District in Swansea City Centre.

Both ballots are run by Electoral Services at The City & County of Swansea.

For a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts:

  1. Straight YES majority
  2. Majority of rateable value (the value of a commercial property unit)

This ensures that the interests of large and small businesses are protected.

The first BID was the Bloor West Village Business Improvement Area, established in Toronto in 1970 as an initiative by local private business. The first BID in the United States was the Downtown Development District in New Orleans, established in 1974.

BIDs then developed across the globe and are now in South Africa, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and throughout Europe.

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have now been operating across the UK for over a decade.

There are now circa 300 BIDs are now established around the country with 87,000 businesses/organisations being part of BIDs. The industry has a turnover of circa £246 million, employs over 700 people and secures circa £21 million in additional contributions.

The BID levy is charged at 1% of the rateable value of each hereditament listed in the Rating List with a rateable value of £5,000 or more, using the 2010 Rating List as at 14th January 2016, which was the date of the notice of the ballot.

Those that are located within the existing Quadrant Shopping Centre and any subsequent new shopping centre developments that are planned, built and managed as a single entity, comprising units and communal areas, with a minimum gross leasable area (GLA) of 5,000 square metres (m2) where a 0.90% levy charge will be applied.

Those receiving either 80% mandatory and 20% discretionary charitable relief or 100% Discretionary Relief from non-domestic rates will be exempt from the BID.

Where a property is taken out of rating e.g. due to demolition or a split or merge of an existing assessment, the BID levy will apply up to the day before the effective day of removal from the Rating List and the annual BID levy will be apportioned accordingly. This will include cases where the rateable value has been reduced to £1 or zero.

Where a new assessment is brought into the Rating List e.g. a newly erected property or a property resulting from a split or merger, the BID levy will apply from the effective date as shown in the Rating List. The annual levy will be apportioned on a daily basis as required.

There will be no VAT charged on the BID levy. The BID levy will be payable in a single instalment 28 days after the issue of the demand notice. The BID levy will be payable from 1st August 2016 for the first year of the BID and from 1st April for each subsequent year.

The charge will be calculated on a daily basis and there will be adjustments during the year to reflect changes in the liable party. In accordance with The Business Improvement Districts (Wales) Regulations 2005 the City and County of Swansea Revenues and Benefits Section will be responsible for the imposition, administration, collection, recovery and application of the BID levy.

The term of the BID will be for a period of 5 years from 1st August 2016.

No, the money does not go to the Central Government or the City Council.

Funds are ONLY for BID projects as detailed in the Business Plan that is above and beyond those delivered by the Local Authority and other public body services that operate within the BID area.

Like any business growth is important, so additional projects that further support and benefits City Centre Businesses, economy and vibrancy of the BID area will be reviewed within the constraints of BID income providing the BIDs aims/focus are adhered to.

Swansea BID has entered into baseline agreements with the local authority and other service providers such as South Wales Police which guarantees the level of service provision in the area. These ensure that any services Swansea BID provides are truly additional.

An Operating Agreement has also been entered into between a Swansea BID and The City & County of Swansea governing how the BID levy monies are collected and administered and passed over to the BID company.

A BID is a business-led and business-funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area. The benefits of BIDs, cited by the businesses they represent, are wide-ranging and include:

Businesses decide and direct what they want for the area

Businesses are represented and have a voice in issues affecting the area

BID levy money is ring-fenced for use only in the BID area

Increased footfall

Improved staff retention

Reduced business costs

Enhanced marketing and promotion

Facilitated networking opportunities with neighbouring businesses

Assistance in dealing with the Council, Police and other public bodies

In the case of Swansea BID, we deliver the above through five themes:

  1. Car Parking & Transportation
  2. Safety & Security
  3. Marketing, Promotions & Events
  4. Cleansing & Enhancement
  5. Commercial Business & Facilitation

There are now circa 300 BIDs around the UK. Of those, 150 have come to the end of their first BID term or second term and have renewed by the businesses to continue.

In Wales, The Welsh Government has also provided funding for more BIDs across Wales owing to the ‘pioneering efforts’ and success of the BID here in Swansea.

The BID levy is collected by The City & County of Swansea Business Rates department.

Here is the contact information for the Business Rates department. Gary Mckay is the Senior Business Rates Officer who manages the BID levy. You can also pay online here 

Below is their full contact details. Office hours are 8.30am to 4.45pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.15pm on Friday.

a: City & County of Swansea | Business Rates | Civic Centre | Oystermouth Road | Swansea  | SA1 3SN

t: (01792) 635936

e: [email protected]

We are focussed upon making the BID area a better place to shop, visit, stay, study and to do business. We do this by delivering activities aimed at INCREASING foot flow, CREATING a safer shopper and trading environment, PROMOTING the BID area and its businesses, DEVELOPING a strong, recognised and respected business voice, finding cost reductions and sourcing advice for our BID businesses and IMPROVING the shopping and trading environment.

Businesses and organisations in the City Centre voted to establish Swansea BID in March 2006 and we are delighted that the BID tenure has proved such a success that it has been renewed in 2011 and 2016, for further 5-year terms.

Swansea Business Improvements Ltd was incorporated on 2nd August 2006 as a private, not for profit, company limited by guarantee without share capital.

The BID is governed by a board of voluntary directors who are accountable for the effective delivery of the company operations and services, as set out in the business plan, and for upholding and promoting the company’s vision and objectives.

Crucially, the make-up of the board represents the broad spectrum of the various BID-area sectors. A full list of our current directors can be found here. They currently represent:

Independent – 5 | National – 2 | Public sector – 2 | Office – 2 | Education – 1 | Property owner/Landlord/Third Sector – 1 | Hospitality/Licensees – 1

The company day to day operations is managed by the BIDs office team that can be found here who are accountable to the board of Directors.

Measuring Performance & Reporting Back 

Swansea BID is British BIDs Accredited for its management and performance. This is the industry-recognised standard and it places Swansea BID in the top 20 percent of UK BIDs.

We measure performance using the following sources :

Foot flow and spend independent data and analysis provided by Springboard via the local authority | Car parking and transportation independent usage reports | South Wales Police City Centre reports | Taxi Marshal statistics | online live database system | Business surveys/visit feedback | Bespoke place dashboard intelligence | Customer Relationship Management systems

Profile Measurements:

Media coverage | Website and social media usage/engagement

Performance results and data are regularly reported back to our BID Businesses via –

BID Bulleting Newsletters | E-Newsletters | Annual reports | Working Group forums | Operating Group Meetings | Sector-specific meetings | Networking events | Workshops | Training events | Open BID Business meetings | Digital and social media platforms | 1-2-1 Business visits logged through CRM