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We sometimes place small data files on your computer. These are known as cookies. Most websites do this.
They improve things by:

  • remembering settings, so you don’t have to keep re-entering them whenever you visit a new page
  • remembering information you’ve given (eg your postcode) so you don’t need to keep entering it
  • measuring how you use the website so we can make sure it meets your needs

Our cookies aren’t used to identify you personally. They’re just here to make the site work better for you. Indeed, you can manage and/or delete these small files as you wish.

To learn more about cookies and how to manage them, visit AboutCookies.org. Or please read on to find out more about how and where we use cookies.


How we use cookies

This website uses cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Measuring website usage (Google Analytics)

We use Google Analytics to collect information about how people use this site. We do this to make sure it’s meeting its users’ needs and to understand how we could do it better.

Google Analytics stores information about what pages you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got here and what you click on. We do not collect or store your personal information (e.g. your name or address) so this information cannot be used to identify who you are. We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

The following cookies are set by Google Analytics:

Name Purpose Expires
_utma This randomly generated number is used to determine unique visitors to our site 2 years
_utmb This randomly generated number works with _utmc to calculate the average length of time users spend on our site 30 minutes
_utmc This randomly generated number works with _utmb to calculate when you close your browser when you close your browser
_utmz This is a randomly generated number and information about how the site was reached (e.g. direct or via a link, organic search or paid search) 6 months
GDS_successEvents
GDS_analyticsTokens
These cookies help us identify how people use GOV.UK so we can make the site better 4 months

You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies by visiting this page on Google.


Storing your approximate location

Some pages on this site provide you with information based on your location. So when you enter your postcode, we save your approximate location to a cookie. This means you don’t have to keep typing your postcode in, and means we’ll always point you towards services that are closest to you e.g. the nearest UK online centre.

Name Typical Content Expires
govukgeo Saves details about your location so that services which require this information are consistent 4 months