Great Places Housing Group

Case Study

Nick Gornall – Head of Development

Great Places have dedicated their time to finding solutions for delivering affordable social housing and improving the lives of people living in the nineteen thousand homes they manage. Having completed six thousand new homes across the last 10 years there was never going to be a quiet time to switch to using ProVal & Sequel but with continued ambitions to develop new homes at scale and in an effective and efficient way Great Places switched in 2014.


ProVal has assisted Great Places in their development ambitions and with their knowledge of ProVal and Sequel progressing, Great Places plan to build an additional eleven thousand new homes over the next ten year period.

Our relationship with SDS


Great Places have been able to benefit from the high calibre of support that Shelton Development Services provide. “Nick Gornall – Head of Development” “The support is great, you can phone with quick and silly questions and email when it’s not as urgent or out of hours. The support team are good at layman’s terms to make it easy for us to understand issues which can be quite techy”.

In addition to this excellent support, SDS’s viability workshops have provided Great Places with a wealth of knowledge, such as picking up invaluable tips on the functions of ProVal to understanding NPV and how the cashflows work together. They found that everyone attending the workshop from directors through to graduates were engaged and felt that they gained greater insight into how to use the software more efficiently. Additionally, the training also helped to look at long term results helping maximise the feasibility of a scheme through changing tenure or unit mix in the results section. The finance department has thoroughly enjoyed using dummy schemes to gain a greater understanding of making schemes viable and resolve any issues.



There were concerns about how long team members would take to get to grips with ProVal but all twenty eight members of Great Places Finance and Development teams are able to use SDS systems efficiently through training and support, with everyone working on ProVal and Sequel happy with the usage and implementation.

New members joining Great Places are typically proficient with ProVal and Sequel a couple of weeks into their training.

In addition to this, the annual support inspires confidence with efficient, friendly help just a phone call or email away.

Benefits of ProVal and Sequel


Since the implementation of ProVal in 2014, appraisals have seen a significant increase in efficiency alongside overall project management. An example Great Places has provided are the additional attribute fields that are captured, this means the data gets transferred across systems while reducing duplication. This allows for time to be spent focusing on other areas of their appraisals. What’s more, they were able to capture all of the information in the development process to avoid the hassle of visiting properties to capture data years later through stock condition surveys. Property attributes are also advantageous, using them to drive data going forward. These have been useful to Great Places in the long term with data input and inaccuracies allowing for visibility meaning that nothing gets missed. Additionally, Great Places have a good starting point when properties are developed which can be built on with trusted stock condition data. With the increasing rate that Great Places are developing at, they want the base housing management data to be right which they believe can be achieved with the use of Sequel.

The most obvious advantage Great Places highlighted with SDS software was the time saved generating appraisals and generating programme level financial data.

Drafts of appraisals allowed time for Great Places to fine-tune their process and effectively heighten their productivity. Additionally, the quality of support and training that has been provided allowed for all members running ProVal to appraise schemes in under five minutes.

The Finance Team at Great Places have worked hard to utilise the standardised reports within Sequel and to build bespoke reporting around them. The result being a suite of financial template reports which can be produced at the click of a button from the live data within sequel.

Future Goals


Going forward, Great Places is looking to implement upcoming changes to their software, looking to evolve with technological developments rather than stagnate with past practices. Shared ownership is going to be an integral product of Great Places’ future developments, so HomeMatch is a product they will be looking at to streamline the management of the sales programme.  Finally, the more the development programme as a whole grows over the coming years, the more importance will be placed on the Sequel cashflows to ensure that no financial rules are going to be broken. ProVal, Sequel, and HomeMatch will be at the forefront for Great Places in their future development plans.



Overall, SDS has provided Great Places with expert training and support during the implementation of ProVal and Sequel. Viable schemes can be appraised quickly amongst the team with twenty eight members within finance and development able to efficiently use the SDS software suite.

Category: Housing Association


Bought ProVal & Sequel:

March 2014


Number of ProVal users: 30


Number of Sequel users: 20


Discover ProVal & Sequel

  • What the development process involves.

  • The key questions you should be asking as part of the delivery process.

  • Whether a housing development is viable.

  • What should be included in your development strategy, policy, audit and approvals.

  • About how the culture of shared ownership is changing.

  • How to create a marketing plan.

  • What your sales strategy should include.

  • Which mortgage and conveyancing options are there for SO.

  • It’s not over when it’s sold!