Donald Rumsfeld once said,

“as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.”

One thing is clear, there has been so much research and comment about “The High Street” there is a great deal we do know about the issues such as parking, crime and disorder, creating experience and, of course business rates, to name a few.  The problem is agreeing what to do about it!

Over the past year I have been lucky enough to have been working on some really interesting projects that are helping put the theory into practice.  Here is a short digest.

For customer “parking” is a hassle and often used an excuse.  I’ve helped develop Parking Perx, which is a loyalty app that gives consumer free parking.  Following a full feasibility study in Sunderland the first full pilot goes live after Christmas.  Look out for the wave of publicity following a high-profile airing on TV in February!

Tackling business crime is an increasing part of what BIDs and others are trying to tackle as the epidemic of rough sleeping and begging gets more and more prevalent.  The BRC have also reported a big increase in assaults of staff.  There a number of strands to this work.

Firstly, I was commissioned to write the new National Standards for Business Crime Partnerships.  They are the bedrock for enhancing the level of partnership working nationally and these standards aim to recognise this good practice and professionalism and encourage continued investment.  I administer these for Secure By Design.

This prompted a group of major retailers to come together and they asked me to write a Manifesto for Business Crime.  There has been growing concern about both the effectiveness of BCRPs but also a growing sense that businesses are “paying twice” with BCRPs and BIDs.  At the launch one major high street brand told the audience that their total BIDs levy in 220 locations was now approaching £400k pa.  So, the “Key Principles” set out what these retailers want to see in any BID Business Plan, either at inception and renewal.  It is one of the benchmarks they will use to decide whether or not to vote in favour.

The National Business Crime Solution (NBCS) are delighted to invite BIDs to their first Members Day of 2019. This will be held at Trent Vineyard Conference Centre Nottingham on Thursday 28th February.

This will offer the opportunity for you to network with major High Street businesses, NBCS members who are reporting a significant increase in violence and abuse against their colleagues. The huge growth in rough sleeping and begging, as well as falling police numbers have aggravated this issue further. We will hear how businesses are looking to overcome these challenges.

Finally, under the Business Crime heading I’ve developed a process to help BIDs create a BCRP Strategy and Action Plan for tackling this head on.  It is designed to enable you to set up a BCRP, with a BID, or refresh your existing offer so that you could meet the Standards and comply with the Key Principles above.  It is three stage process, recently very success in helping Warrington get things going in the new BID.

And then these is the whole issue of “Experience”.  Much talked about, but I think it’s quite simple.  Give people a reason to come to you centre.  While they are there they will eat, drink and shop (and hopefully qualify for free parking!).  That’s is what Casebook Events is all about.  Getting people to explore your centre can be fun!  We’ve now delivered our Casefile games to over to over 5,000 happy players (4.7/5 rating from surveys) in 15 locations.  Booking now for 2019!

Finally, Business Rates;, I’m sure that the New West End led campaign for tax reform is gaining traction.

That’s my wish for the new year.  That politician stop messing about around the edges with things like the Future High Street Fund, welcome though it is, and tackle some of the fundamentals.

These are covered really well in a new article in the Spectator.  “Don’t write off the High Street!”

Happy New Year

Martin

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