What are cookies?
Cookies are pieces of data created when you visit a website, and contain a unique, identification number. Some cookies are stored in the cookie directory of your hard drive, and do not expire at the end of your session. Cookies do not contain any personal information about you and cannot be used to identify an individual user.
Cookies have a lifetime. Many only last until you close your browser or for a short time. These are called ‘session cookies’. Some last far longer though, for example, to enable a website to recognise you when you return to them. These are called ‘persistent cookies’. Where possible, we’ll let you know how long these cookies last for.
Cookies set directly by a website owner (like us) are generally known as ‘first party cookies’. Many (if not most) modern websites also use bits of hidden technology provided by other parties. Online advertising is a particularly common example. These other parties may also set cookies when you use our website. If they do so, their cookies are generally known as ‘third party cookies’.
There are some other computer technologies which are technically different to cookies but are used to perform very similar jobs and function in a very similar way. For example, ‘locally stored objects'(or ‘flash cookies’) are used to power some online video content, and ‘web bugs'(or ‘web beacons’) are used for many of the same purposes as cookies. When we provide services to you through our website, we want to make them easy to use, useful and reliable. Cookies 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;
First party cookies
These are cookies we set and that our website needs in order to function and if they are not accepted by you, parts of the site won’t be usable. Example would be for us to save a visitor filter selection from our homepage. These cookies may be used to enable us to identify a visitor’s current browsing session and allows our website to function as intended. These cookies can also let us know what web channel you used to find us, along with the keyword you used.
Third party cookies
We regularly review the cookies we use and which our suppliers use to keep them to the minimum we think we need. In doing so, we aim to respect your right to privacy in your online life, which is very important to us, but also ensure you have a good browsing experience and ensure we have enough of the right kind of information to improve our website and the services which we offer. During your visit to our website(s) you may notice some cookies that are not related to our website(s). This happens when you visit a page with content embedded from a third party or use some of the links to social networking websites (e.g. FaceBook). We love it when you share information through a social media network but when you do so, please be aware that, these websites may place cookies on your device. We do not control how a third party uses their cookies. You should check these third party websites’ privacy policies for more information about their cookies if you are concerned about this.
We use various software tools that allow us to study, and then improve, how customers interact with our website(s) – this is known as website analytics. Examples of analytical tools that we use are: Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics and User Replay.
Analytics cookies allow us to understand more about how many visitors we have to the website(s), how many times they visit us and how many times a user viewed specific webpages within our site. Although analytics cookies allow us to gather specific information about the pages that you visit and whether you have visited our site(s) multiple times, we cannot use them to find out details such as your name or address.
How you can manage cookies
All popular browsers (e.g. Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge and Safari) allow you to amend your cookie settings so that cookies are no longer enabled across all websites that you visit. For further information about cookies and how to disable them please go to the Information Commissioner’s webpage on cookies; https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/online/cookies/.
If you want any further information about our approach to cookies and similar technologies, our website in general or have any other privacy questions relating to us, we’d be happy to help you. Please write to us by post to National Direct Service, 84 Princess Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M1 6NG.