What is a cookie?

Cookies are small pieces of data that are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website or application.

We use them to:

  • remember information about you, so you do not have to give it to us again
  • allow us to keep you signed in as you move around the site if you have an account
  • help us understand how people are using our services, so we can make them better
  • help us personalise the site to you by remembering your preferences and settings

For further information visit or

Types of cookies

First-party cookies

These cookies are set by the website you’re visiting and only that website can read them.

Third-party cookies

These cookies are set by someone other than the owner of the website you’re visiting. Some web pages may also contain content from other sites (for example YouTube), which may set their own cookies. Also, if you share a link to a page, the service you share it on (for example, Facebook) may set a cookie on your browser. We have no control over third-party cookies.

Session cookies

These cookies only last as long as your online session and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Chrome or Safari).

Persistent cookies

These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session.  For example, if you have accepted the cookie policy, so we do not need to keep asking you.

Strictly necessary cookies

These cookies let you use all the different parts of website. Without them, services that you’ve asked for cannot be provided.

Functional cookies

These help us personalise the site to you by remembering your preferences and settings. Some examples of how we use these cookies are remembering:

  • if you visited the website before so that messages for new visitors are not displayed to you
  • settings on the website like colour, font size and layout

Performance cookies

These help us understand how people are using the site, so we can make it better. And they let us try out different ideas. We sometimes get other companies to analyse how people are using the site. These companies might set their own performance cookies. Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • collecting information on which web pages visitors go to most often so we can improve our online services
  • making sure that the website is working properly and fixing any errors
  • testing designs to help improve the look and feel of the website

Advertising cookies

Some websites use advertising networks to show you specially targeted adverts on other sites based on the sites you visit. These networks may also be able to track your browsing across different sites.

Other tracking technologies

Some sites use things like web beacons, clear GIFs, page tags and web bugs to understand how people are using them and to target advertising to them.  They usually take the form of a small, transparent image that is embedded in a web page or email. They work with cookies and capture data like your IP address, when you viewed the page or email, what device you were using and where you were.

Controlling cookies

You can set your browser not to accept cookies and the websites below tell you how to remove cookies from your browser. However, in a few cases some of our website features may not function as a result.

For further information visit or

Compare programmes