Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site.
There are two kinds of cookies - session (set on a short-term basis and auto-deleting after a few minutes or when you close your browser), usually in order to register to a website that you are logged in to it, and persistent, set by the website and stored for a longer period of time, usually used to store commonly entered information on forms (such as your name, address, and telephone number), any preferences the website might allow you to store in terms of layout and functionality (such as widgets on an iGoogle home page), and information about your browsing habits across multiple sites, usually used to allow advertisers and social network site operators to target advertising at you.
We use Google Analytics to analyse the use of our website and help us create a more useful and easy to use site. The data collected is completely anonymous and does not store any personal details. The information, collected by Google through the use of the cookie, is used to analyse how visitors make use of the website and allows us to gather statistical information such as website activity, visitor numbers, popular pages, customer journey through the website, etc. We similarly also use another site statistics information provider, Comscore (formerly Nedstat) for more detailed analysis.
We also set a cookie if you have completed our website satisfaction survey, in order to tell our system that it doesn’t need to ask you again.
If you would like to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics you can use the opt-out tool at: http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.
Instructions for blocking cookies using browser settings:
For other browsers and operating systems, consult your relevant help file.
Further work is currently in progress to review the cookies currently in use across the whole of our website estate and to provide more detailed information about each one.
The use of persistent cookies in the European Union has been regulated by EU Directive 2002/58 on Privacy and Electronic Communications, and in the UK is enacted under the authority of the Information Commissioner’s Office.