Your privacy: how cookies are used on the Parliament website

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

What are cookies?

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • enabling a service to recognise your device so you don't have to give the same information several times during one task
  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there's enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with govt services so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them from Directgov: How government websites use cookies. If you'd like to learn how to remove cookies set on your device, visit: About cookies: How to control cookies.

Our use of cookies

Cookies for measuring performance of the website

By understanding how people use the Parliament website, we can make improvements to the navigation and content to make the site better and easier to access.

We use Google Analytics to gather data on the number of people accessing our site, where they are accessing from, what pages they visit, and what technology they are using. Google Analytics cannot identify your personally, but does allow us to understand our users as a group, for example by recording what browsers are being used.

Name: _utma
Typical content: randomly generated number ~
Expires: 2 years

Name: _utmb
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: 30 minutes

Name: _utmc
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: when user exits browser

Name: _utmz
Typical content: randomly generated number and information about how the page was reached (eg directly or via a link, organic search or paid search)
Expires: 6 months

Name: __utmmobile
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: 2 years  

In addition, we run a monthly satisfaction survey. This uses a cookie to record if a user completed the survey in the previous three-month period, so that users aren’t asked every month. 

Name: UK Parliament website monthly survey
Value: N=Wed, 22 Feb 2012 14:31:44 GMT
Expires: 22 May 2012 15:31:44

Cookies for managing your current visit

To remember the selections or preferences you’ve already made when looking at information or using a service.

Name: ASP.NET_SessionId
Purpose: to store the user's session ID to allow the site to recognise your movement around the site as being from one computer
Expires: when user exits browser

Cookies to support specific elements of the site

Some elements of the site use cookies to make them easier to use. These are:

Race Against Chime  – a game in the Education section of the site – uses cookies only if you have asked to connect the game to your Facebook account. This cookie stores your nickname, Facebook ID and your score.

Name: fbsetting_8a99ce37a8803de5e450ee9e0dbb9d20
Typical content: Information is only stored when a user connects with Facebook. This cookie stores your nickname, FacebookID and total score.
Expires: 1 day
This information is only stored when a user connects with Facebook, and is stored in a database on the server. If you are playing the game without connecting to Facebook, no cookies are stored.

The Speaker’s School Council site uses cookies as part of the login process.

Name: SESS9ab115a12f3da60212f97f23466e5ec4
Typical content: User name and password are stored. It allows users to log in again during the same session without re-entering their details.
Expires: When user exits browser

Cookies set by other websites through this site

We want to provide interesting and engaging content on our website. On a number of pages we embed media such as YouTube videos. The suppliers of these services may also set cookies on your device when you visit the pages where we have used this type of content. These are known as 'third-party' cookies. Parliament does not control how a third party uses their cookies. You should check these third party websites' privacy policies for more information about their cookies if you are concerned about this.

How to control and delete cookies

We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you.

However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by our websites, or indeed any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. The ‘Help’ function within your browser should tell you how.

Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your machine as well as more general information about cookies.

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the functionality of our website.

If you wish to view your cookie code, just click on a cookie to open it. You'll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the server that gave you the cookie. For information on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

To opt-out of third-parties collecting any data regarding your interaction on our website, please refer to their websites for further information.