Horisk-developed platform helped Crown Estate Scotland wind farm bid process

Horisk Leslie Development has helped Crown Estate Scotland (CES) take a big step towards achieving Scotland’s net zero targets by developing the ScotWind Evaluation Platform website used to score bids to lease areas of Scotland’s seabed for offshore wind farms.

Hywind Wind Farm Illustration

Image: Statoil

In December 2020 we won the tender process to develop the platform to allow CES to score and analyse the bids because of its record for delivering secure business critical tools for public sector organisations. Its experience of developing online systems to replace Excel models, working with large volumes of complex data and providing workflow tools to manage processes was key in the successful bid.

Four months earlier we had seen the launch of the Sustainable Procurement Tools platform for Scottish Procurement which brought together three tools to help Scotland’s public sector bodies identify and address how they can optimise the economic, social and environmental outcomes of their local procurement.

Complex Excel model

CES had a complex model to score bids developed using Microsoft Excel but needed an online system to allow bids to be compared, data to be checked across them, give access to expert reviewers across the globe and provide workflow tools to manage the scoring process.

To meet the brief, between early last year and September Horisk developed the platform with an easy-to-use data entry system to allow:

  • Reviewers to enter data and comments in response to more than 500 questions per bid
  • Replacement of the Excel model calculations, backed up by a suite of tests to ensure correct results
  • A workflow to ensure each bid completed the full review process - which involved each bid being scored by two independent teams of reviewers
  • A process to allow moderators to easily spot differences between reviewing team scores and produce a comprehensive moderator score at each stage
  • Tools and reports to allow comparisons both within each bid and across all bids - to ensure they were consistent and neither capital nor project partners were over-committed across multiple bids
  • Admin tools to manage the reviewer teams and moderators for each bid
  • Integration with CES’s existing login system and databases

We also provided support to the CES team during the evaluation period.

The system has since been used by Crown Estate Scotland to run the bid evaluation process from September to December last year. The results were announced on January 17.

Beatrice Offshore Wind Turbine

Image: RePower


One of the key benefits of the new platform has been to ensure proper weighting for bids which demonstrated the best likelihood that the project would be delivered, rather than simply the highest value bid, and CES was pleased to be able to give the web development contract to a Scottish company able to deliver and support the robust evaluation platform required.

Speaking about Horisk’s role, Scott Ross, Offshore Wind Leasing Coordinator at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We set Horisk a complicated task and they were diligent in understanding our requirements and producing a product which exceeded our initial brief. They excelled in responding to our requests for additional reporting capabilities with their helpdesk support. We are extremely thankful for the experience of working with Horisk and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to any business seeking a bespoke information management platform.”

Tight timescale

Director Brian Horisk, said: “As a company we are pleased to have played our small part in the ScotWind project, which is of such vital importance to meeting Scotland's climate change targets.

“The ScotWind Evaluation Platform was a significant, complex project which needed to be delivered in a relatively tight timescale. Although the process in itself was unique, we were able to bring to bear our experience of projects with large amounts of complex data to develop a system that was user-friendly, robust and secure.”

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