The what, why and how of cookies on our website
- What a cookie is
- Why we use them
- How you can control them
What is a cookie?
Cookies are small text files that are stored in your computer (or mobile device) when you visit a website. They collect basic information that allows the website to remember who you are (during your visit if it is a 'session cookie' or between visits if it is a 'persistent cookie' – see jargon busting below for a full explanation).
The information collected allows the cookies to do lots of useful tasks - navigation between pages, remembering preferences, showing popular pages - that give you a better interaction with the website.
First party cookies are created by the website you're visiting.
Third party cookies are created by other websites which have content on the page of the website you're viewing.
Session cookies are temporary and are used only during a web browser session (examples of web browsers are Internet Explorer and Google Chrome). A browser session starts when you open a browser window (which is when the session cookie starts) and ends when you close a browser window (which is when the session cookie is deleted).
Persistent cookies stay on your computer (or mobile device) for a set amount of time (it varies depending on the cookie). They work every time you visit the website that created that cookie.
If you’d like to know more, visit allaboutcookies.org – it really does tell you all about cookies.
Some cookies are essential to making our site work properly. For example, we use them to make sure the information you enter in our contact form does not need to be re-entered if you enter it incorrectly. These are session cookies and are deleted at the end of the browser session.
Deleting these cookies could seriously affect your use of the website.
These cookies allow us to remember your choices and preferences. For instance, if you use access keys (shortcut keyboard commands) the cookie will be used to remember your personal access keys between visits.
Because of the tasks they need to be able to do, functionality cookies are persistent cookies.
If you prevent these cookies, you will have to repeatedly choose your preferences on a visit by visit basis and some services may not be available to you.
These cookies help us to continually improve our website.
The cookies collect information on how you use our site, but they do not identify who you are. The information shows us the most popular pages, how many visitors come to our site, where visitors exit the site and other data that we use to improve how our website works in the future.
We use a Google service – Google Analytics – to measure our site’s performance (which makes these third party cookies).
Visit Google’s analytics privacy pages for more information.
Other third party cookies
Our website does not have any advertising from any other organisations. However, we do include links to social media websites like Facebook and YouTube, which may use their own cookies. We do not control these third party cookies, so please visit their websites to check their privacy or cookie policies.
How can I control cookies?
You can control cookies by changing the settings in your browser.
You will usually have a number of options to choose from including: accepting, rejecting or asking to be told when you receive cookies.
If you choose to reject all cookies, you will find that you can’t use all the features of some websites and other websites may not work very well.
You can find detailed instructions on how to change your browser settings on allaboutcookies.org.
Other places to control cookies
Adobe Flash Players (often used to watch videos and play games) serve their own type of cookie. You can’t control these cookies in your browser.
Visit Adobe’s website for more information.
To control third party advertising cookies, visit the consumer advice website of the Internet Advertising Bureau.