Ballots that determine the go-ahead (or not) of Business Improvement Districts are very important to the economic future of towns across the country.  Therefore, the ballot decision mustn’t be contentious in any way.

For a ballot decision to be upheld without dispute, there are certain dos and don’ts. UK Engage looks at three key dos and three key don’ts for those involved in a BID ballot.

Do: –


1. Appoint a trusted and experienced BID ballot independent scrutineer:

They are the experts in postal ballots and have worked with all the stakeholders involved in the BID process (BID management company, local authority, and hereditaments). They will be aware of the legislation surrounding BID ballots.

2. Engage all hereditaments early on in the process:

Business owners must know who the BID ballot independent scrutineer will be and what to expect from the election process, this is especially important if your BID is new.  Why not ask your scrutineer to come along to a planning meeting to tell the attendees what they can expect.

3. Ensure there is a robust proxy process:

Everyone must be allowed to vote in the ballot.  Therefore, if a rate payer is not able to vote they should appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf.  The BID ballot independent scrutineer will be able to supply them with an ‘application to appoint a proxy’ form. Therefore, the rate payer must inform the scrutineer as soon as possible, so they can get a form sent out in good time.

Don’t: –

1. Put pressure hereditaments into voting one way or another:

Your BID ballot should be fair at all times and hereditaments should not feel pressure to vote in a particular way by those running the BID.  If hereditaments do feel under pressure, they should consult the BID ballot scrutineer as soon as possible, so they can look into the matter.

2. Leave it to the last minute to send your vote back:

BID ballots are carried out using a postal ballot.  Therefore, unlike some other types of organisational elections that can be done using e-voting, hereditaments need to post their ballot paper back to the BID ballot independent scrutineer.  Voters should make sure they post their vote in plenty of time, paying attention to weekends and Bank Holidays.  Votes received after the agreed deadline, are not valid.

Reminder letters and postcards are a good way to jog people’s memory about a pending voting deadline.

3. Don’t ask your BID ballot scrutineer to tell you how a hereditament has voted:

Sometimes clients misunderstand what level of information a BID ballot independent scrutineer can provide.   Yes, we can provide updates on how many votes have been sent back and provide an update on voter turnout. We can provide information about which hereditaments have cast a vote but not how they voted.

Voter coercion is possible when the stakes in ballots are high. However, it is the responsibility of a BID ballot independent scrutineer to ensure the highest standards of transparency, impartiality and security are applied to any ballot process.

UK Engage

UK Engage carries out new and renewal BID ballots for retail BIDs, industrial BIDs and tourism BIDs. For more information about the BID ballot process, please contact the team at UK Engage.

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