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. In 2011, 2016 businesses voted to renew the Business Improvement District in Swansea City Centre and on 25/6/21, it was officially declared that Swansea BID successfully secured a Wales record-breaking 4th term ballot with 77.4% Yes and 76.9% Rateable Value. The declaration can be found here. The new BID term started on 1st August 2021 and will run over 5 years until 31st July 2026.

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, known as BIDs, are business-led and managed partnerships.

A geographical boundary is defined where businesses and organisations in this area invest, collaborate and improve their trading environment. Projects created provide added value and go beyond the statutory provision of public services.

They address local issues through partnership working and collaboration, achieved through a ballot process. BIDs were first established in Canada and the USA in the 1960s and now exist across the world.

There are currently over 320 BIDs delivering £130 million investment in towns and city centres throughout the UK

Government Legislation and Regulations govern the BID process. As such, once a majority vote has been achieved, the BID levy becomes mandatory on all defined ratepayers.

The BID levy will be 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 2017 Rating List as of 13th May 2021, which is the date of notice of the ballot.

Apart from 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 meters (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 daily 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 demand notice issue. The BID levy will be payable from 1st August 2021 for the first year of the BID and 1st April for each subsequent year. The charge will be calculated daily, 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.

Non-payment of the BID levy will be strongly pursued via all available enforcement options as determined in the current Non-Domestic Rating legislation. The term of the BID will be for a period of 5 years from 1st August 2021.

The BID levy will also not be affected by any of the Welsh Government’s Rate Relief Schemes.

The BID levy is payable on the whole rating assessment, irrespective of whether part or all of it is empty. In the case of vacant properties, the BID levy will be collected at 100% from either the owner or leaseholder (if an occupational lease exists) except in cases where insolvency proceedings have commenced

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 three themes:

  1. Welcoming & Enhancing
  2. Promoting & Supporting
  3. Representing & Influencing

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 focused on 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, 2016 and 2021, for further 5-year terms.

Swansea Business Improvements Ltd was incorporated on 2nd August 2006 as a private, not for profit, a 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 per cent 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