This site, like many websites (and all websites that provide log-in functionality) uses “cookies”, which are small pieces of textual data that we ask your web browser to store on your computer, and then give back to us each time you visit a page. Essentially this allows us to know a bit more about you are as you move from page to page within the website and from visit to visit.
Purpose of cookies
Cookies may sound intrusive, but in fact each and every request that you make to a web server is treated in complete isolation, so storing a cookie is the only way that a site can know that you are the same user that you were on the last page that you accessed. Without them you wouldn’t be able to log into a website, and pages would not be able to be customised to you in any way.
Most of the negative press surrounding cookies stems from advertising companies using cookies to track you between websites, and to collect the information that they know about you into a centralised profile which they can use to target advertising and even potentially sell your details to other companies.
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) requires that we provide full disclosure about the cookie data that we store on your computer, and where such cookies are not essential to the operation of the site to allow you to opt out of their storage on your computer.
We do not share any of your information with any third parties (with the exception of Google Analytics for browsing patterns – which is not personally identifiable, and you can turn off should you wish).
Types of cookies we use
The table below shows the types of cookies that we store on your computer. Some of them are classes as essential to the operation of the site (so your only choice if you are not happy with them is not to use the site), but others are optional and you may opt out of them if you wish.
The preferences that you choose below are specific to the computer that you are currently using.
Google Analytics – optional
We use a service called Google Analytics to collect information about the way that you use the site, including how long you stay on pages, which pages you visit, details of your operating system, browser and geographic location.
Google stores a cookie on your computer on our behalf which is persistent, and while it does collect detailed information about your usage, it is not personally identifiable (and we ensure that we never read Google’s cookie values, so we cant tie the data that they collect to the personally identifiable information that we have about you).
You are able to opt out of this cookie by unchecking the checkbox to the right. If you do opt out, we will immediately delete all Google Analytics cookies from your computer.
PHP Session – essential
When you visit the site (whether you are logged-in or not), we have to initially carry out a lot of calculations to work out what you are/are not allowed to access in your current state.
To preserve performance of the site, rather than carrying out all these calculations every time you load a page, we cache them in a web server “session”, and store a cookie on your computer with the session ID.
If we didn’t do this, the performance of the site would not be able to be maintained, so we class this as essential to the site’s operation.
This cookie does not contain any personally identifiable information.
Cookie Preference – essential
If you choose to opt out of any cookie types, we will store a cookie on your computer to signify this. While it may seem counter-intuitive to store a cookie to specify that you don’t want any cookies, this is the only way that we can know about your preferences when you return to the site.