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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.

More about cookies and how you can disallow their use.

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 

How to control cookies

All recent versions of popular browsers give users a level of control over cookies.

Users can set their browsers to accept or reject all, or certain, cookies. Users can also set their browser to prompt them each time a cookie is offered.

If you are unable to do this or find the option on the browser you are using - please use the feedback form below and we will contact you to give you more information.

Our use of cookies

The site uses cookies for collecting non-personal user information from the site. The site does not collect any information about you except that required for system administration of the website. If you choose not to accept the cookie, this will not affect your access to the majority of facilities available on our website.

Although your browser may be set up to allow the creation of cookies, you can specify that you be prompted before a site puts a cookie on your hard disk, so that you can decide whether to allow or disallow the cookie. Alternatively, you can set your computer not to accept any cookie.

This site uses Google Analytics code to gather statistical information. Google Analytics sets cookies to help us accurately estimate the number of visitors to the website and volumes of usage. This to ensure that the service is available when you want it and fast. For more information on how Google Analytics processes this information, visit Google Analytics

High Availablity-Website Load Balancer
FunctionalCreated, updated and used exclusively by the Load Balancers to associate a browser session with a particular web server in the cluster. Contains an internal identifier of the server handling the user. There is absolutely no identifiable information. Blocking this cookie will have no effect on anonymous users, but helps maintain cache consistency when an editor is logged into the site.Expiry: Session
CookieControlFunctionalCreated, updated and used exclusively by Cookie Control to record whether or not visitors have seen a message about cookies being used on the site, as part of compliance with EU cookie laws.Expiry: 90 days
colourContrastFunctionalSet for the browser to remember user accessibility settings (color contrast selected by the user)Expiry: 1 year
fontSizeFunctionalSet for the browser to remember user accessibility settings (font size selected by the user)Expiry: 1 year
_ga, _gid, _gatAnalytical _ga: Used to distinguish users.
_gid: sed to distinguish users.
_gat: Used to throttle request rate.
_ga:  2 years 
_gid:    24 hours 
_gat: 1 minute    

Third party cookies

There are links and content from other sites and services on our website. These sites and services set their own cookies.

Below are a list of cookies that the other sites and services use:

Service namePurposeMore information
Google analyticsThese are used to compile reports for us on how people use this site.Visit the Google Analytics website for more information about the cookies they use.
Google Translation - googtransThis cookie is used to remember which language to translate each page into if you have chosen to do so.It expires at the end of your browser session.
FacebookWe have a number of presences on Facebook, which we may link to. Facebook may set some of its own cookies if you follow these links.Visit Facebook to find out more about their cookies.
TwitterWe have a number of presences and feeds on Twitter, which you may wish to follow or read from this website. Twitter may set some of its own cookies.Visit Twitter to find out more about their cookies.
YouTubeWe have a YouTube channel, which we may link to. YouTube may set some of its own cookies if you follow those links.Visit YouTube to find out more about their cookies.
MonsidoThese cookies are set to help us report on how people are using the site so we can improve it.Visit Monsido to find out more about their cookies.