Places for People Homes is the property and neighbourhood management arm of The Places For People Group, which is responsible for 62,034 homes across England and Wales.

The need

Under their existing system, the service charges at Places for People Homes, were prepared using over 2,000 linked spreadsheets which were becoming increasingly unmanageable. This was not only inflexible, preventing a move to block accounting, but there were genuine concerns about data integrity and mistakes in the master spreadsheet.

Places for People Homes were searching for two years to find a solution they were confident would meet their needs. It was essential that any implementation would not require excessive manual intervention or result in a loss of accuracy in their data.

The solution

Castleton Service Charges was implemented in close collaboration with the in-house project team to ensure all customer requirements were met. Custom screens and reports were provided to replicate functions that users were accustomed to, as well as enabling Castleton Service Charges functionality to be enhanced. Existing data was
utilised to infer logical system rules and structures to minimise change for users.

Consequently, during implementation, manual intervention was kept to a minimum allowing project teams to be kept relatively small and minimising impact on the day to day customer workload.

The results

A simple and consistent user interface. Ensemble is designed to be flexible and user friendly.

  • The service charge setting process has been streamlined and reduced the possibility of

errors. Data validation is easier and reconciliations have become faster than ever before.

  • Accurate budgets now take less time to produce.
  • Facilitates production of reports for budgets, actuals and management accounts.
  • A flexible platform ensures that additional functionality and legislative changes can be accommodated.
  • Positive feedback from both users and management shows that Ensemble is both user friendly and effective.

We have transformed and accelerated our service charge setting process which delivers a robust and transparent calculation of service charges.

Joanne Kidd, Systems Accountant for Places for People Group