Academics Ian Cook and Kevin Ward, who co-authored a paper on the future of BIDs, said there was an issue with accountability.
Dr Cook, of Northumbria University, said: “BIDs are accountable in some ways and not others. They are far more accountable than most business organisations, but I guess this is because there is a mandatory tax given to them and when they want to be ‘re-elected’ they feel obliged to produce business plans with financial details in.
“There is also the issue of who they are accountable to. Some businesses seem to moan about ‘not being heard’ or favouritism – often small businesses complaining about the big businesses having more influence. There is also the issue of the role of the [more democratic, more accountable] local council, which is often on BID boards (and finance them often) – so BIDs often claim public accountability through their links to the councils. But ultimately BIDs are not really accountable to the public in general and are more focused on being accountable – of sorts – to businesses.”
Source: The Independent 12 October 2014.
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