Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University to help Business Improvement Districts make better places

Following a rigorous selection process the Manchester Metropolitan University's Institute of Place Management has been chosen by leading Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) across England to support the development of a high profile representative body as well as provide research, advocacy and other services to the industry.

BIDS were first established by Parliament in 2003, as formal networks of businesses who come together through local ballot to agree a levy to fund actions to make specific locations more successful. There are now over 250 BIDs operational around the UK making important decisions about the management and development of towns and cities, on behalf of the businesses and public sector agencies that fund them.  Given the growing numbers of BIDs, their significant budgets and combined contribution to local economies a group of 27 leading BIDS felt that the time was right to work more collaboratively and find out how they could have more impact as an industry and so commissioned an independent review. Drawing on feedback from over 100 BIDs, as well as government and private sector stakeholders, the research confirmed the need for a single, independent, member-led group to represent the BID industry.  The report set out a clear picture of what BIDs and their levy payers are looking for, as well as identifying the current gaps in the support required to meet the needs of this burgeoning industry.

The Institute of Place Management (IPM) was selected for having the requisite capacity, standing and independence to assist in elevating standards of performance and governance across the BID industry and in the interests of BID levy payers.  The selection panel also felt that as part of a University with a strong focus on influencing policy, IPM was best placed to work with government, LEPs, other trade associations and those providing commercial services within the industry. Speaking on behalf of the Representing BIDs Steering Group, Andrew Cooper commented: 

“The Representing BIDs steering group, comprising BIDs from all areas of the country, unanimously recommended the decision to select IPM.  We found the process to have been healthy for the industry; it has already brought practitioners closer together with those who provide, support, consultancy and services which can only be good for the future of BIDs as a whole.”

The IPM was set up in 2006 to support people who make, maintain and market places.  As the professional body for the place management industry it is ideally placed to support BIDs and their employees on their collective journey to improve the vitality and viability of the locations they manage as well as engage more meaningfully with government and industry. Visiting Professor Simon Quin, who will be leading the new BID group initially, thinks awareness of BIDs needs to be higher, "around 80,000 businesses contribute to Business Improvement Districts in the UK bringing more than 75m of business contributions and a total investment of over 110m.  This is already making a profound difference to the towns and cities in which BIDs are based but the potential to achieve more is enormous and we look forward to working with our new member BIDs to help them realise this".

The new BID group will initially identify the needs of BID members. The IPM will continue to work with other partners in the industry to ensure that professional place managers, include those in Business Improvement Districts, have access to the range of services and products they require. This new alliance with BIDs is expected to bring around 400 new members into the Institute of Place Management.

Professor Cathy Parker, Chair of the Institute of Place Management, believes that the partnership will be very beneficial for both parties and that there is a lot the university can learn from BIDs saying "politicians and academics are very keen to understand more about devolution  - the benefits and pitfalls as well as the process by which control, power and budgets are managed more locally and BIDS are already at the frontline of these changes".

Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “It’s important to us at Manchester Metropolitan that we can influence policy and demonstrate the impact of our partnerships. Cathy and her team at the Institute of Place Management have done some pioneering work around town centre management and design that can really assist the many thousands of businesses who need our town centres to function much better, especially as more power is devolved. We’re all delighted that the Institute of Place Management has been entrusted with this project.”


1. List of BIDs that are commissioned the research and selected IPM are Acocks Green BID (Birmingham), Baker Street Quarter BID (London), Bath BID, Better Bankside (London), Bristol - Destination Bristol, Bristol Broadmead BID, Bristol City Centre BID, Brixton BID), Cathedral Quarter (Derby), Colmore BID (Birmingham), Croydon BID, Fitzrovia BID (London), Heart of London BID, Kingstonfirst BID, Leamington BID, Leeds BID, Lincoln BID, Liverpool BID, Love Wimbledon BID, Newmarket BID, New West End Company (London), Newbury BID, Norwich BID, Paddington BID, Stratford BID (London), Team London Bridge, We are Waterloo BID, Winchester BID

2. The BID sector research by Rocket Science can be found here

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