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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Your privacy

This page explains Directgov’s privacy policy. Find out how Directgov will use and protect any information about you that you provide when you visit this website.

The Data Protection Act

Under the Data Protection Act, Directgov has a legal duty to protect any information they collect from you. Directgov uses leading technologies and encryption software to safeguard your data, and keeps strict security standards to prevent any unauthorised access to it.

What information does Directgov collect?

Directgov collects the following kinds of information from visitors:

  • feedback (through visitors emailing Directgov)
  • queries and customer satisfaction survey results (via the Directgov website)
  • site usage information, using cookies and page tagging techniques including JavaScript

After Directgov replies to you a record of your message will be kept for up to two months before it's deleted.

How Directgov uses your information

Information collected by Directgov is used to:

  • improve the content of Directgov
  • change the content and/or layout of Directgov 
  • tell visitors (with their permission) about updates to Directgov 
  • contact visitors (with their permissionn) for marketing purposes
  • contact visitors to respond to their queries

Directgov does not share this infomation with other organisations for marketing, market research or other commercial purposes. 

However, Directgov may give your personal details (eg your name and email address) to the appropriate government department, executive agency or non departmental public body. This is so Directgov can help you with your query. 

Directgov may give your personal information to law-enforcement authorities (eg the police) to help them:

  • prevent or detect a crime
  • assess or collect any tax or duty

Site usage information


Cookies are pieces of data created when you visit a website, which are stored in the cookies directory of your computer. Cookies are created when you visit Directgov. Directgov cookies store a random number on your computer to help Directgov count the number of times visitors return to the site.

The cookies do not contain any personal information about you, and they can’t be used to identify an individual person.

Some services, such as the benefits adviser and schools finder, will store a cookie on your computer while you use the service. The service will not work if you do not let it set the cookie on your computer.

You can set your browser not to accept cookies. If you don’t know how to do this, contact Directgov say what browser you’re using (eg Internet Explorer or Firefox).

Page tagging

Directgov uses JavaScript (a computer language) to pull together and examine how people use the Directgov website. Directgov uses this information to improve the layout of the website and the information on it. This process doesn’t collect any personal or identifiable information about visitors.

Directgov sometimes tags pages on this website using pixel tags (sometimes called spotlight tags or web beacons). These tags help Directgov find out which adverts are successful in bringing visitors to the website. This information is anonymous and doesn’t collect indentifiable information about visitors.

You can turn off JavaScript on your computer and you can ask Directgov to help you do this. Contact Directgov and say what browser you’re using (eg Internet Explorer or Firefox). You should still be able to use the Directgov website with JavaScript turned off.

Registering with Government Gateway

Some government transactions and services, eg Tax Self Assessment and the State Pensions Forecast, need you to register with the Government Gateway. This website provides secure and encrypted online services and has its own privacy policy (follow the link below).

What happens when you follow a link to another website?

Keeping your data safe

Directgov doesn't pass on your personal information to any other website

Directgov contains links to websites of government departments and other organisations. This privacy policy applies only to the Directgov website. When you link to another website you should read the privacy policy on that website. Directgov doesn’t pass on any of your personal information to other websites (see ‘What information does Directgov collect?’ above).

What happens when you come to the Directgov website from another website?

When you come to the Directgov website from a link on another website Directgov may get personal information about you from the other website. You should read the privacy policy of websites you visit that link you to Directgov. These policies will explain how they collect and use your personal information and whether they pass this onto websites they link you to.

Access to your information and contacting Directgov

You can contact Directgov to see records of correspondence you’ve sent them, or if you have a query or complaint about this privacy policy. 

Changes to this privacy policy

If this privacy policy changes Directgov will update this page. You should visit this page regularly so you know:

  • what personal information Directgov collects
  • how Directgov uses your personal information
  • when (if ever) Directgov shares your personal information with someone else

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Why are we asking for this information?

  • we want to hear what you think about the quality and usefulness of our pages
  • your comments will help us improve our pages
  • your comments will also help with the future development of Directgov
  • telling us what you think will help make sure we give you the very best service

Additional links

Online benefits advice

If you need advice on benefits, pensions and credits, see what you might get by using the online calculator

Jobseeker's Allowance online

If you need to apply for Jobseeker's Allowance, do it online at a time that suits you

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