Services provided by the City of Westminster are ‘benchmarked’ and form part of a baseline agreement with Marble Arch London BID at the commencement of each term. This is to ensure that the BID only provides services that are additional to those provided by the City Council.
Over and above this the BID measures its performance and the impact of its projects and services in a number of ways. The bulk of our data comes from external agencies, such as Transport for London, Westminster City Council, the GLA Datastore and the Metropolitan Police. This is then used alongside our own data to build up a picture of the BID’s performance, and to inform where efforts should be focused, and priorities targeted.
In autumn 2020 we commissioned an Insights Study to create a robust baseline for the BID’s second term. This provides us with a wide range of commercial data and economic indicators, a vital resource as the BID matures over time.
Footfall – the BID deploys 12 footfall counters across the BID area, hosted by our members. Data is collected 24/7, 365 days a year and enables us to measure the impact of events and campaigns, detect seasonal variations and provide intelligence to landlords and occupiers to determine trading hours. Total footfall across the area as a whole is over 11 million during the course of a year. We also use footfall data in support of funding applications and to make the case for improved highway and junction schemes. Through this platform we also receive regular vacancy rate data as well as ‘opening and closure’ intelligence, benchmarked against other locations.
"In hosting one of the BID’s footfall counters, we get access to invaluable real-time data, helping us to track commercial performance and target campaigns."
Mattia Ciaruffoli, Holland and Barrett, Edgware Road
Retail centre health checks – every five years Westminster City Council surveys all its town centre high streets, collecting data on ground floor uses, mix of uses, vacancy rates and environmental quality. This is then compared with other town centres in the borough and tracked over time. Whilst these are a snapshot in time, they prove invaluable in tracking changes in use over a long period of time and help us to pinpoint which zones are susceptible to higher vacancy rates, thus enabling us to direct project resources.
Night-time economy – our footfall data tells us much about the role of the night-time economy on Edgware Road and side streets, with much later peaks than other retail high streets, due to the extensive food and beverage offering and flourishing hotel district. The BID uses this information to identify the contribution the night-time economy makes to the district and to ensure we can protect uses that are central to the draw of the BID area.
"As one of the district’s most prominent bars, we benefit from a dedicated business voice speaking up in support of the night-time economy."
Nagesh Balusu, Salt Bar, Edgware Road
Employment data and workforce characteristics – we know from Census Data and the Annual Business Survey how many people are employed locally, but the Insights Study will give us a much more granular account of businesses and employee numbers, and the GDP contribution of the district. This data is not just important for lobbying purposes, we can also chart changes to capture the value of investment.
Rental values – whilst these are available on a regional or postcode basis, the Insights Study will provide these in raw disaggregated form and enable us to determine where additional investment is needed. They can also be tracked over time to measure market confidence in the district.
Catchment area – the City Council’s Health Check provides some information on catchment areas, particularly through on-street visitor surveys. The Insights Study will enhance this information and further break it down into different sectors, enabling us to distinguish between for example our residential catchment area and office employee catchment area. Again, this assists us not only in promoting the district and devising future campaigns but provides landlords with the intelligence to make investment decisions.
Travel and transport – the BID benefits from a range of data provided on an open source basis by Transport for London, including passenger numbers on buses and the Underground on relevant lines and through our three Underground Stations. This is helpful in guiding us in respect of highway and infrastructure schemes around the main arrival points in the BID area. It not only helps make the case, but it also assists in determining priorities where, for example, pavement widening is proposed.
Collision data – we have access to road traffic collision data from Transport for London, which has proved invaluable in promoting safer junctions and green man crossings the length of Edgware Road. This data will be used to compare conditions after the junction improvement schemes are completed. Likewise, at Marble Arch collision data has helped inform the transformative proposals for the public realm scheme, which aims to reduce the number of serious collisions at the gyratory.
Air quality – the BID benefits from a Breathe London air quality monitoring device on Edgware Road, which collects real time data on fine particulate matter PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide. Located kerbside it allows us to track air quality daily and over time, providing the ability to see current and average scores across a year by pollutant and source. Straddling the Inner Ring Road and ULEZ boundary the BID obviously faces challenges in any attempts to improve air quality locally, but has continued to promote active travel, click and collect and freight consolidation wherever possible. The air quality trends provide a vital resource in bidding for funding, piloting projects or trialling new initiatives.
Environmental problems – the Marble Arch Street Team record environmental data six days per week all year round. These are reported to either Westminster City Council or Transport for London and logged with the BID to create a more strategic picture. We use this information to influence Street Team patrol routes, commission ‘design out crime’ studies and lobby for additional public sector resources.
Crime statistics – the BID receives a wealth of crime statistics from the Metropolitan Police, from daily overnight crime data, through to whole ward monthly and quarterly data by type of crime, compared with other wards in Westminster. We use this data to devise multi-agency operations with the police and City Council, to undertake joint patrols, adjust patrol routes and to ensure the BID’s Business Crime Group focuses on the most relevant issues locally.
Calls to the Marble Arch Street Team – we receive calls on every Street Team shift, from businesses and residents alike. The location of each issue is logged alongside the nature of the problem and our response. This information is mapped regularly to ensure businesses are benefiting from the team, to engage businesses affected who are not using the team fully and to adjust patrol routes and shift patterns.
"The BID’s Street Team work tirelessly to support us and to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour."
Stephen Dauncey, Pret a Manger, Oxford Street
Compliments and complaints about the Marble Arch Street Team – any public-facing team will receive complaints and compliments and we record all instances of both made in respect of the Street Team. The BID thoroughly investigates all complaints. A new mystery shopping contract was introduced in 2020 to provide reassurance to the team and the BID Board that the service remains agile and fit for purpose.
Rough sleeper numbers – the Street Team record rough sleepers and refer them and any other vulnerable people on the street to either Street Link or Westminster City Council. They also assist with welfare checks during periods of extreme temperatures. On top of this there is a monthly count led by Westminster City Council supported by outreach agencies, and a national annual count. Whilst the BID does not provide any direct services to deal with homelessness, it is vital that the street team are aware of numbers and locations to offer support and provide intelligence to outreach services.
Organised begging volumes – Edgware Road continues to suffer from begging organised by groups of foreign nationals, and the related encampments that spring up from time to time. Every begging incident is recorded by location and individual and provided in daily intelligence reports to Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police. This information forms a vital tool for devising and executing multi-agency operations to clear begging sites and building the case for Community Protection Notices.
"The BID’s Business Crime Group brings together police, intelligence agencies and our neighbours to combine efforts and share information, vital to protect our operations, staff and customers."
Tim Molden, Capital Arches Group (McDonalds), Edgware Road
Training participation – we record all participation in training and briefings, whether in person or online, and ask attendees to provide feedback. This ensures we retain good training providers and offer a programme that remains relevant to our BID members’ interests. We also record numbers participating in our training programme from each BID member, as we seek to ensure that as many members as possible have access to our training series.
"The BID’s training courses provide excellent value, with an admin-free rolling programme making it easy for us to participate."
Linda Cole, Adjaye Associates, Old Marylebone Road
Volunteering – we measure a number of elements of our Community Programme to ensure that our activities are both fulfilling for Marble Arch volunteers and beneficial to the community groups, charities and schools on their doorstep. We record the number of volunteers and service users taking part in the activity, the hours of activity Marble Arch volunteers have donated and the nature of the volunteering – both the format of the event and whether it allows the volunteer to utilise a particular skill. We also record the number of sessions which take place and whether the activity is subsequently repeated. We seek feedback from both volunteers and community partners on all events in order to inform future planning. The BID uses a number of methods to gather feedback, including paper forms, online surveys and email requests. We use this feedback to inform our future activities, enabling the Community Programme to consistently evolve and improve, and allowing the BID to best serve its community.
"The BID has made a huge difference to the school and our team, involving us in events, community activities and keeping us informed throughout the pandemic."
Sylvia Young OBE, Sylvia Young Theatre School, Nutford Place
Donations – in addition to donating their time and skills to the local community, Marble Arch businesses also fundraise for, and donate equipment to, charities, community groups and schools in the area. We record the value and date of each donation, and whether funds are unrestricted or restricted to a particular project.
Collective voice – we track our responses to policy matters through a public affairs grid, and record feedback and outcome in respect of each piece of lobbying activity. Through our Westminster BIDs public affairs contract we are able to see the outcome and reach of each representation made.
Bed spaces – accommodation in the BID area ranges from luxury 5 star and busy 4-star hotels from global brands to boutique townhouses, private members’ clubs, homely bed and breakfast properties and budget hostels. We receive data directly from local hotels and monitor the development pipeline. This information enables us to track investment and growth in the hospitality sector locally, helping us to continue shaping services for our members.
Hotel occupancy levels – our hotels bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area each year, so it is essential we track occupancy levels. This data is vital to detect seasonal variations and helps us compare year-on-year trends. The BID gathers this data from hotel trade publications.
Contribution made by international visitors – London-wide data is available from external tourism agencies but the Insights Study will enhance this information and provide more local data, enabling us to understand the local area and the contribution made by international tourism.
Website analytics – our website features regular updates on our services and projects, information on the local area, local businesses, and the BID. We use website analytics to identify what content and services visitors engage with the most, which helps us determine our priorities and content.
Newsletter Engagement and subscribers – the BID’s monthly newsletter keeps members and our 1,000 subscribers updated on BID services. Our email marketing platform generates a report for every newsletter and tracks useful data such as open rates, click rates, top links clicked, and subscribers with the most opens. The data we receive every month gives us valuable insight into what services our members find useful and which members are most engaged. This also helps us to devise our future campaigns.
"The BID’s regular newsletters are a great help, from news of highway works to local offers and events."
Amanda Feeney, Harrowby and District Residents’ Association
Social media reach – our four social media channels (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) feature our latest news and projects, as well as up-to-date information about the area. Each channel provides analytics on reach and engagement, which allows us to monitor impact and tailor our services accordingly.
Press and public affairs – our campaigns provide PR opportunities for our members and for the area. Our PR strategy aims to enhance the reputation of the district as a welcoming and thriving multi-cultural destination to shop, visit and work. Each campaign is monitored by our PR agency to track success, reach and determine where our efforts should be focused.