What’s a cookie?
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. A user may be asked to authorise them by clicking OK. Cookies do not collect information that could identify a user personally, unless a login is required to access an account.
Cookies are nothing new, they are used by nearly all websites and do not harm your system.
If you want to check or change what types of cookies you accept, this can usually be altered within your browser settings. You can block cookies at any time by activating the setting on your browser that allows you to refuse the setting of some or all cookies. However, if you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including necessary cookies) you may not be able to access all or parts of our site.
Cookies perform many different functions, from remembering user login information when visiting a site to what user preferences are selected. They also help identify which web pages are the most popular and what type of journey a visitor has through a website.
We don’t use all cookies. However when or if we do use them:
This information would help us plan and improve the content and layout of the website. They play an important role in helping to make the website easy to use and provide all the information needed for the benefit of users.
There are different types of cookies which can be used at any time depending on what information the company needs to improve the site:
- Session cookies: these are only stored on your computer during your web session and are automatically deleted when you close your browser, they usually store an anonymous session ID allowing you to browse a website without having to log in to each page but they do not collect any personal data from your computer; or
- Persistent/permanent cookies: These cookies measure how often a user visits and also remembers preferences and settings to speed up and enhance the user experience of the website every time it is visited. These cookies are not deleted when the browser is closed.
- Anonymous permanent cookies: these cookies gather web statistics but don’t gather information which can personally identify the user. The information from these cookies is used to help improve the online experience of the website by making it faster and easier to navigate.
Cookies can also be categorised as follows:
- Necessary cookies: These cookies are necessary to enable you to use the website effectively, such as when buying a product and or service, and therefore, when/if used, cannot be turned off. Without these cookies, the services available to you on our website cannot be provided. These cookies do not gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you have been on the internet.
- Performance cookies: These cookies enable us to monitor and improve the performance of our website. For example, they allow us to count visits, identify traffic sources and see which parts of the site are most popular.
- Functionality cookies: These cookies allow our website to remember choices you make and provide enhanced features. For instance, we may be able to provide you with news or updates relevant to the services you use. They may also be used to provide services you have requested such as viewing a video or commenting on a blog. The information these cookies collect is usually anonymised.
- Third party cookies: These cookies when/if used are set by another company such as Google Analytics, for example, which is a tool that collects web data for analytical purposes. They track user behaviour such as which pages are most commonly viewed, how many users visited the website, entry and exit pages, number of page views and also which browsers were used and they also track revenue, what is purchased and how often.
How to opt out of cookies
It’s important to note that cookies are harmless and are used to help improve website functionality and make the user experience better, however there are a number of ways to opt out of cookies:
- Blocking/restricting some or all cookies by setting the user browser to notify when cookies are attached to a website and then refusing them. Disabling cookies may result in the user experiencing limited functionality of the website such as not being able to access certain features.
- Deletion of cookies that have already been set can be done via the browser settings as well (again, some functionality for the website may be lost).
Information about managing cookies can be found on https://www.aboutcookies.org/