New Members

If you’re thinking about opening a new business, have just opened a new business or if you have any questions relating to the Kirkwall BID please get in touch.

To help you understand what a BID is, what the Kirkwall BID area is, and what the Kirkwall BID delivers please see the frequently asked questions below:

Will my new business be included in the BID?

Following research, consultation and an official ballot in 2013, the Kirkwall BID was formally set up. If your business is within the BID Boundary Area, your business will be part of the Kirkwall BID regardless of your business sector.

How is the BID funded?

The BID projects are funded from a BID levy. The BID will also seek other external funds from a variety of sources.

Who pays the levy?

A BID levy is an equal and fair way of funding additional projects and services. Through our research process, businesses have indicated they would like to improve their trading environment and a BID offers the opportunity to make these positive changes.

All eligible Non-Domestic properties with a rateable valuation within the BID area will be liable for the levy for the duration of the BID. Churches, Car Parks, Public Conveniences, Domestic Properties which are for let for rent and are beneath the £6,667 valuation threshold and Office Based Charities (registered in Scotland) are excluded from paying the levy. Any additional rateable property formed/created during the lifetime of the BID will be liable to pay the levy, – e.g. new build, alterations to use, etc.

The occupier of the property (the eligible person liable to pay the non-domestic rate) is liable to pay the levy, but should the occupier vacate, then the responsibility will fall back to the property owner, until such time as a new occupier takes over. If an occupier vacates a property, rebates for the outstanding unoccupied period will be given.

How much will the levy cost?

A minimum annual levy for the 5 year duration of the BID of £100 per year up to a Non-Domestic Rateable Value of £6,666 and at 1.5% for those with a Non-Domestic Rateable Valuation of £6,667 and over. In the case of multi occupancy/ownership of property where properties (as per the named ownership on the Scottish Assessors website), on an individual basis, fall below £6,666 but total £6,667 or over, then the levy will be calculated at 1.5% of the total value.

As a new business if you have any doubts over what you are liable to pay in terms of levy please get in touch.

Who will collect the levy?

Orkney Islands Council issue businesses in the BID area with a separate levy invoice. All monies collected will then be passed to the BID for the delivery of BID projects and services and will not be an additional source of revenue for OIC. Any non-payment of the BID levy will be strongly pursued through all available enforcement options, which are defined within the Non-Domestic Rating (Collecting and Enforcing) Regulations, to ensure fairness to those businesses who have paid. (NB- for the majority of businesses this will cost less than £1 per day).

What is Kirkwall BID Ltd?

Kirkwall BID Ltd is the company which runs the activities of the Kirkwall BID. For example it employs the BID Manager and organises events. The company has an operating agreement with Orkney Islands Council which specifies the services it should provide under the terms of the Scottish statutes covering Business Improvement Districts. In order to provide a legal framework for managing the income from the BID levy there has to be a properly constituted company.

Who makes up Kirkwall BID Ltd?

Members of Kirkwall BID Ltd are self-selected members of Kirkwall BID. In other words, any Kirkwall BID member can choose to join the company.

What’s the difference between being a member of Kirkwall BID and Kirkwall BID Ltd?

Membership of Kirkwall BID includes all owners or tenants of properties within the Kirkwall BID area which are subject to non-domestic rates. All members are required to pay a levy which amounts to 1.5% of rateable value or £100, whichever is higher. (Back-office charitable premises are exempt.) In tenanted properties the tenant is liable for the levy; otherwise the owner is. Membership of Kirkwall BID Ltd, on the other hand, is voluntary among BID members.

What does membership of Kirkwall BID Ltd involve?

Membership of Kirkwall BID Ltd provides an opportunity to have a say in the election of Board members and office-bearers, and to scrutinise the annual accounts – and indeed to join the Board. The most active members are those who join the Board and who meet approximately monthly to steer activities and approve spending. Others simply attend General Meetings, usually only once a year. The Articles of Association (constitution) of the BID provides for a maximum of twelve Board members and a minimum of three.

Is there any fee for joining Kirkwall BID Ltd?

There is no fee for joining. The only liability is a nominal £1 to be paid if the company goes bankrupt.

Do you have to join the Board of Kirkwall BID Ltd to have a say in activities?

Members of Kirkwall BID Ltd can also take part in the BID Events Group, which sits under the Board and which has a big say in the timing and organising of events. Board membership is not necessary and neither is there an election process to join the Events Group.

Do you have to be a member of Kirkwall BID Ltd to take part in events?

Emphatically no! All BID members are encouraged to take part in events, whether a member of Kirkwall BID Ltd or not.

How do I become a member of Kirkwall BID Ltd?

Contact [email protected] to request a Kirkwall BID Ltd Application for Membership form.

Looking for Business advice?

If you’re looking for business advice, then please contact Business Gateway who offer a great service and support. To find out how Business Gateway can help you, visit or call your local office directly on 01856 898 233.


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This project was part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney Leader 2007-13 Programme.