To make websites simpler, and to give the user a better ‘browsing experience’ websites sometimes place small data files on your computer.
These small files are known as cookies. This is a very commonplace practice and nearly all websites will do this.
Cookies are small text files. They are primarily used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. Cookies improve things by:
Remembering settings (where provided), so that you don’t have to keep re-entering them whenever you visit a new web page.
Measuring how you use the website so that it can adjusted and honed over time to make sure it continues to meet your needs.
Some examples of the usage of cookies could be:
Using them to store information; used to personalise the website for your specific requirements. For example, a website that allows you to buy things, may use a cookie to record items you have in a shopping basket.
Using cookies to record user behaviours whilst visiting a website. For example to record and track the pages they have viewed to determine the paths that are being used to navigate through the website to specific information.
There are two different types of cookie that could be placed in your browser by a website:
Session cookies are only used for the period you use the website, and are deleted when you close your web browser. A new cookie would then be placed in your web browser if you were to visit the same website again in the future
Persistent cookies remain in your browser once you have left the site and closed your web browser. The next time you visit the site the information in the cookie will be used to ensure the website works as set up at the previous visit. For example, to replicate any preferences you have elected to adopt at the previous visit. Persistent cookies generally expire if the website that set them is not visited again within a certain timescale.
To learn more about what cookies are, and how to manage them, visit AboutCookies.org.
In some cases, we operate browser-enabled processing systems for use by customers. These may use essential session cookies to enable certain parts of the website or system to function properly. In these cases, we do not retain any information after the session has finished.
We use a proprietary software product to track the usage of our website and provide volume metrics of users, web pages visited, returning users, organisations that refer users to our website and more. Any cookies used to enable this type of tracking do not, however, identify you or any of your personal details. Any information tracked in this way is aggregated with information about other users of our website and is reported at site total level. Information about specific individual users is neither reported nor retained.
We occasionally embed videos on YouTube using their privacy-enhanced mode. This mode may set cookies on your computer once you click on the YouTube video player. YouTube will not store personally-identifiable cookie information for playbacks of embedded videos using the privacy-enhanced mode. To find out more please visit YouTube’s embedding videos information page