Like most websites we use 'cookies' to collect anonymous statistics about how people use the site, and to help us keep it relevant for the user. Cookies 'remember' bits of information from your visit to the site.
A cookie is a simple text file that's stored on your computer or mobile device by a website's server. Only that server can retrieve or read the contents of that cookie. Each cookie is unique to your web browser. So if we put a cookie on your computer, it can't be read by any other website.
There are two types of cookie:
'session cookies' last as long as your current visit to the site - or for up to a limited amount of time if you keep the site open without using it. They mean you don't have to keep re-submitting information as you move through the site or carry out transactions.
'persistent cookies' remember information from previous visits - for example names and details for online forms. They are used to collect anonymous statistics about how many people use the site, and to maintain any settings (such as accessibility) you have changed.
Cookies make the interaction between you and the website faster and easier. Without cookies the website thinks you are a new visitor every time you move to a new page.