We sometimes place small data files on your computer. These are known as cookies. Most websites do this.
Cookies are small text files that help your browser navigate through a particular website. The cookie file is generated by the site you're browsing and is accepted and processed by your computer's browser software. The cookie file is stored in your browser's folder or sub folder. Your browser accesses the cookie file again when you visit the website that created the cookie file. One key aspect of cookies is that websites are not allowed to read cookies set by other websites.
The browser uses the information stored in the cookie file to help ease your navigation of the website by letting you log in automatically or remembering settings you selected during your earlier visits to the website, among many other functions.
They improve things by:
- remembering settings, so you don't have to keep re-entering them whenever you visit a new page
- remembering information you've given (eg your postcode) so you don't need to keep entering it
- measuring how you use the website so we can make sure it meets your needs
Our cookies aren't used to identify you personally. They're just here to make the site work better for you. Indeed, you can manage and/or delete these small files as you wish.
In most cases, we will let you know before we store a cookie on your computer by providing a message similar to this:
Measuring website usage (Google Analytics)
We use Google Analytics to collect information about how people use this site. We do this to make sure it's meeting its users' needs and to understand how we could do it better.
Google Analytics stores information about what pages you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got here and what you click on. We do not collect or store your personal information (e.g. your name or address) so this information cannot be used to identify who you are. We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.
The following cookies are set by Google Analytics:
|_utma||This randomly generated number is used to determine unique visitors to our site||2 years|
|_utmb||This randomly generated number works with _utmc to calculate the average length of time users spend on our site||30 minutes|
|_utmc||This randomly generated number works with _utmb to calculate when you close your browser||when you close your browser|
|_utmz||This is a randomly generated number and information about how the site was reached (e.g. direct or via a link, organic search or paid search)||6 months|
|These cookies help us identify how people use GOV.UK so we can make the site better||4 months|
You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies by visiting the Google website cookie pages