We use cookies on our Websites to help make your visits more effective so we'd like to explain more about how and why we use them. By continuing to browse our Websites without adjusting your browser settings to block cookies (for information about how to do this please see Accept or block cookies), you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files which contain a small amount of non-personal information that is downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website. When you visit the website again, or visit another website which recognises that cookie, your device is able to communicate with the website and the website can read the information held in that cookie.

We use Cookies to help you efficiently browse our websites and to save you time by not having to re-enter your details each time you visit. Cookies allow us to provide you with information and show you content relevant to you. We also use Cookies to analyse how you interact with our websites so we can improve the customer journey.

How we use cookies

We use four categories of cookie on our websites

Some of these are “session cookies”, which stay in place only for the duration of your visit to our website and are deleted at the end of your browsing session. Others are "persistent cookies", which remain on your device for a period of time after you have left the website. Cookies may also be placed by our approved business partners, which are known as "third party cookies".

Strictly necessary cookies

Strictly necessary cookies are required for the operation of our Websites.

These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the Website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the Website.

Without Strictly Necessary Cookies our Websites and back-end services would not work. If you remove or disable these Cookies, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to use our Websites.

Our use of Strictly Necessary Cookies includes:

  • identifying you as logged in to the secure parts of our website for the duration of your visit;
  • remembering information you have previously entered to complete a form (such as retrieval of completed form) as you proceed through a journey on our Website. Your information is stored on our secure servers and the cookie contains only a unique reference number which links you to your stored information when you log into the Website.

We do not use Strictly Necessary Cookies to:

  • collect information about you for marketing purposes; or
  • track your internet activity on other websites.
List of strictly necessary cookies
 Name of cookie  Function
 ASP.NET_SessionId  Session identification
 __AntiXsrfToken  Anti-forgery cookie to prevent your data being stolen when filling in forms.
 tabContainer  Cookies starting with ‘tabContainer’ set the ID of the active tab on the page so we can show open that tab when the page reloads.

Performance cookies

Performance Cookies collect information about how visitors use our Websites. They allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors and to see how visitors move around our Websites.

Performance Cookies help us to improve the way our Websites work (such as ensuring that users are finding what they are looking for easily) and to recognise when error messages are being received. Performance Cookies don't collect any information that could identify you.

The information collected by these Cookies is either anonymous or pseudonymised.

Our use of Performance Cookies uses includes:

  • analysing how visitors use our website; or
  • recording any errors that occur;

We do not use Performance Cookies to collect personal information.

Some Performance Cookies are managed for us by third parties, for the purposes listed above. For more information see Key Third Party Providers.

You can stop Performance Cookies by setting your web browser to reject/block some or all Cookies. You may be able to block specific Performance Cookies provided by third parties by using the tools or preferences on that third party’s website (see Further Information Key Third Party Providers).

List of performance cookies
Name of cookie   Function
 __cfduid  Used by Siteimprove. This cookie is used to identify individual clients behind a shared IP address and apply security settings on a per-client basis.
 _ga  Used by BrowseAloud. This is an analytics cookie to gather anonymous statistics.
 _gat  Cookies starting ‘__gat’ are used by BrowseAloud. This is an analytics cookie to gather anonymous statistics.
 _gid  Used by BrowseAloud. This is an analytics cookie to gather anonymous statistics.
 nmstat  Used by Siteimprove. Analytics cookie to monitor user traffic data.
 siteimproveses  Used by Siteimprove. Analytics cookie to monitor user traffic data.

Functionality cookies

Functionality Cookies are used to provide services (such as videos) or to remember choices you make so we can personalise our content for you (for example, by remembering your user name, choice of language or region).

Our use of Functionality Cookies includes:

  • remembering preferences you have chosen to customise your experience of our Website; or
  • providing live chat functionality to you across our Websites.

You can block these cookies using your browser settings, but this may mean that we cannot offer you certain services and may prevent us from remembering that you have chosen not to receive a certain service.


List of functionality cookies
 Name of cookie  Function
 __ba_allow_secure  Used by BrowseAloud. Set when you accept that it can read content for you on secure pages.
 __ba_lang_warn  Used by BrowseAloud.
 __ba_launch_audio_alert  Used by BrowseAloud.
 __ba_plus  Used by Browsealoud. Set when BrowseAloud is currently active.
 __ba _sec_trans_ok  Used by BrowseAloud. Set when you accept that it can translate content for you on secure pages.
 __ba_settings  Used by BrowseAloud. Set when you change any of the default settings so it can remember them for you.
 __ba_touch  Used by BrowseAloud.
 RememberMe  Stores authentication token between visits so users don’t have to login on each visit.
 AllowEasysiteCookies  This cookie is used to record if a user has accepted the use of cookies on this website.
 ApplicationGatewayAffinity  This cookie is used to allow a live chat conversation to be passed to an operator.
 ApplicationGatewayAffinityCORS  This cookie is used to by our live chat software to keep the session open across different domains.

Targeting cookies

Targeting Cookies record your visit to our Websites, including the web pages you have visited and the links you have followed.

We do not use targeting cookies on this site.

Accept or block cookies

You can block any cookies from any website by activating the setting on your browser that allows you to refuse the setting of some or all cookies. However, if you block all cookies (including Strictly Necessary cookies) you may not be able to access all or part of our Websites. You can also use your browser settings to delete cookies. For more information about how to disable cookies in your browser please visit the Information Commissioner.

If you share the use of a computer, accepting or rejecting the use of cookies may affect all users of that computer.

Where a cookie is provided by a third party, you may be able to use that third party’s own tools to block that cookie.

Key third party providers


Provided by our accessibility partner Texthelp, these cookies are used to remember your preference when using the read aloud and accessibility tools they provide to our website users.


Our websites may use Siteimprove Analytics, which is a web analytics service provided by Siteimprove. These cookies track the pages and content you view on the site to enable us to provide a better website for all future visitors.


Our website uses a live chat and chatbot facility provided by ICS.AI. The cookies allow this service to function.