What are cookies?
Cookies and similar technologies (referred to here as ‘cookies’) are small files that hold information. The information can be about you, your device and your interaction with web pages and apps. They're placed or 'dropped' on your device when you access websites or use apps on your device. The website or app that placed them there can then retrieve the data they contain. The website or app that first dropped the cookies can also authorise other websites and apps to use them.
Some cookies only exist for a short period of time and are then automatically deleted by your device. Others last for longer. These are called 'persistent cookies', and some exist for years unless manually deleted. These can be used to analyse many site visits over time or customise the content that's displayed.
First and third-party cookies
Some cookies are set by the website or app you're visiting. These are called 'first party' cookies. Others may be set by a third party when you use a website or app. For example, they could be set by a tool built into the website, or by an advertising network that displays adverts on the site or in the app.
Read more about cookies on the site of the UK Information Commissioner's Office (who regulate data usage).
How to control cookies
If you want, you can change your cookie settings at any time by managing your cookie preferences.
Today, you can restrict, remove or block cookies for some areas of our websites using our consent management platform (CMP). It’s provided by a third party called TrustArc. Your cookie consent settings will last for 13 months. After that, we’ll ask you to confirm your cookie preferences again through the CMP.
You can also use your browser settings to manage cookies. They let you restrict, remove or block tracking technologies – including cookies – at any time, for any website. For more information about how to do this, and about cookies in general, visit Your Online Choices. You can also opt out of some advertising-related cookies at Your Ad Choices, the Network Advertising Initiative and at Google.
The 3 types of cookie we use on our site:
1. Required Cookies
These cookies are needed to help the site work. For example, to let you buy online. Without them you might not be able to get the information or service you've asked for. We also need them for things like recording when you see an error message. That lets us make improvements and fix bugs.
You can view the required cookies we use at any time on your Cookie Preferences.
2. Functional cookies
We use these to see how you use the site so we can make our site better. We may also use them to give you a better experience. They help us to find areas we can improve and to collect and report on commercial data. They include analytics tools that report numbers.
They also include tools that record videos of individual visits, showing things like where you click on the page, place your cursor, and where you fill in forms. This data is kept secure and we only record what's typed into forms if really necessary. The rest of the time it's not visible in the recording. We may, for example, look at how people use our website and spot a page where people don’t know what to do next. We'd then use our recording tool to look at individual visitors and find out what the problem is.
You can view the functional cookies we use or change your settings at any time by managing your Cookie Preferences. We will only be able to collect anonymous analytical data if you do not consent.
3. Advertising cookies
We use these to share information with advertisers. We sometimes use them to understand your interests so we can show you personalised ads.
Some of these cookies collect information about your online habits, like which websites you visit or searches you make online. We then use this information to make sure you see adverts that are relevant to you. We (or third parties and advertising networks on our behalf) may use them to show you ads we think you'll be interested in. You might see these across the internet, including on other sites you visit. They’re based on your interaction with our website, and your browsing history.
Some of these cookies are used for advertising that uses Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA). Third parties, like advertising networks, work with websites and advertisers to show you customised ads. They collect and use your web browsing activity, including: pages visited, ads clicked, searches made, and products bought or researched. These types of ads often have a blue triangle symbol in the top right-hand corner. We only collect this information if you’ve given us your consent through our CMP.
Managing cookie preferences won’t block ads being shown on our website. It’ll simply stop you seeing ads that are tailored to your interests on the browser you’re using.
You can view the advertising cookies we use or change your settings at any time by managing your Cookie Preferences.
What about links to other websites and their cookies?