What is a cookie?
A “cookie” is a piece of information that is stored on your computer’s hard drive and which records how you move your way around a website so that, when you revisit that website, it can present tailored options based on the information stored about your last visit. Cookies can also be used to analyse traffic and for advertising and marketing purposes.
Cookies 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 all or some cookies. However, if you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including essential cookies) you may not be able to access all or parts of our site.
Cookies are either:
– 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 cookies: a persistent cookie is stored as a file on your computer and it remains there when you close your web browser. The cookie can be read by the website that created it when you visit that website again. We use persistent cookies for Google Analytics
We use both session cookies and persistent cookies, including:-
Google for analysing website visits and use etc.
Facebook for tracking visitors using the links on our Facebook page e.g. Facebook feed/share buttons.
iContact for analysing and administering email marketing sign-ups.
Cookies can also be categorised as follows:
– Strictly necessary cookies: These cookies are essential to enable you to use the website effectively, such as when buying a product and / or service, and therefore 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.
– Advertising and targeting cookies: These cookies enable us to deliver online adverts relevant to you and your interests, based on your use of our site. They are also used to limit the number of times you see an advertisement, as well as help us measure the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns. They remember that you have visited our website and share this information with the advertising networks, such as Facebook and Google.
Clear GIFs: Clear GIFs are tiny graphics with a unique identifier, that have a similar function to cookies. They are embedded in HTML files and are used to track the online movements of web users. We may use clear GIFs in our HTML-based emails to let us know which emails have been opened by recipients and whether links are clicked on. This allows us to assess which articles are of the greatest interest and relevance, to be able to provide more relevant content, as well as being able to assess the effectiveness of our communications and of our marketing campaigns.