To make this site simpler, we sometimes place small data files on your computer. These are known as cookies. Most big websites do this too.

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 Or please read on to find out more about how and where we use cookies.

How we use cookies

GOV.UK 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.

In most cases, we will let you know before we store a cookie on your computer by providing an icon similar to this: sets a cookie.

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 Typical Content Expires
_utma randomly generated number 2 years
_utmb randomly generated number 30 minutes
_utmc randomly generated number when you close your browser
_utmx randomly generated number 2 years
_utmxx randomly generated number 2 years
_utmz randomly generated number and information on how the site was reached (e.g. direct or via a link, organic search or paid search) 6 months

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 it 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 Details about your location (such as postcode, longitude/latitude and a ‘friendly name’ for where we think you are). 4 months

Storing your usability settings

This site provides usability settings that you can switch on or off as you need. If you switch them on, we store the settings in a cookie, so that they apply to each page you look at.

Name Typical Content Expires
govuk-accessibility Your choice of usability setting. 4 months

Remembering your feedback settings

Most pages on GOV.UK show a floating box that asks you if the content was helpful or not. When you close this box (by either providing feedback or clicking the ‘close’ button), we store a cookie so that we know not to show the box again.

Name Typical Content Expires
govukfeedback The word ‘dismiss’ if you have closed the feedback box. 7 days

Remembering if you’ve seen our introductory message

On your first visit to parts of GOV.UK, you’ll be greeted by a pop-up message, welcoming you and providing background to this trial site. When you close the message, we’ll store a cookie so that your computer knows you’ve seen it and knows not to show it again (and again...).

Name Typical Content Expires
govuk-tour The word ‘dismiss’ once you have closed the popup box. 7 days
whitehall-tour The word ‘dismiss’ once you have closed the popup box. 7 days
dp-tour The word ‘dismiss’ once you have closed the popup box. 7 days