A 'cookie' is a small text file that is placed on a user's computer hard drive by a website. There are several types of cookie and the most common are often referred to as 'session' cookies. These are used to keep track of information needed by a user as they travel from page to page within a website. These cookies have a short lifetime and expire within a few minutes of the user leaving the site.
Other types of cookies can be used to track internet activity after the user has left a website. These are either sponsored by organisations external to the website being visited (known as 'third party' cookies) or can originate from the website organisation itself ('first party' cookies). These usually have a long lifetime with several months being quite common. They are 'harvested' and 'refreshed' whenever the user visits a page where the same or a similar cookie is being used.
This website uses benign, short lived 'session' cookies and 'first party' cookies to tell whether a website user has logged-in, where to find details that can be used to pre-fill parts of on-line forms and to personalise the user's visit to the website. They are also used to track anonymously which areas of the site are popular and which are not used; this allows us to target carefully our website resources.