When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.
These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:
- enabling a service to recognise your device so you don’t have to give the same information several times during one task
- recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
- measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
- analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with government services so we can make them better
Cookies for measuring website usage
We use Google Analytics to collect information about how people use our site. We do this to make sure it is meeting 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.
Google Analytics cookies: _utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmz
Purpose: To record how many people are using the site and how they move around the site once they’ve arrived:
_utma tracks how many times (if any) you have visited the site before.
_utmb and _utmc are connected, and track how long you stay on the site.
_utmz tracks identifies where you’ve come from e.g. from a search engine or from another website.
Benefit: So service is available when you want it and fast, we measure numbers and volumes of visitors.
Data stored by cookies: No personal information about you, just information about your computer and your browser.
Duration of cookies:
_utma: Expires 2 years after your last visit to this site.
_utmb: Expires 30 minutes after your visit, or after 30 minutes of inactivity.
_utmc: Expires when you close your browser.
_utmz: Expires 6 months after it was last set.
How to control and delete cookies
However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by our website, or indeed any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. The ‘Help’ function within your browser should tell you how.
Alternatively, you may wish to visit the About Cookies website, which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your machine as well as more general information about cookies.
Please be aware that restricting cookies may have an impact upon the functionality of our websites.
If you wish to view your cookie code, just click on a cookie to open it. You’ll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the server that gave you the cookie.
For information on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.
To opt-out of third-parties collecting any data regarding your interaction on our websites, please refer to their websites for further information.