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Small files (known as ‘cookies’) are put onto your computer to collect information about how you browse the site.

Cookies are used to:

  • measure how you use the website so it can be updated and improved based on your needs
  • remember the notifications you’ve seen so that you’re not shown them again

GOV.UK cookies aren’t used to identify you personally.

You’ll normally see a message on the site before a cookie is stored on your computer.

Find out more about how to manage cookies.

How cookies are used

Measuring website usage (Piwik)

Piwik collects information about how you use the site. This is done to help make sure the site is meeting the needs of its users and to help make improvements.

Piwik stores information about:

  • the pages you visit - how long you spend on each page
  • how you got to the site
  • what you click on while you’re visiting the site

We don’t collect or store your personal information (eg your name or address) so this information can’t be used to identify who you are.

The following cookies are used:

Name Purpose Expires
_pk_id This helps us identify how you use GOV.UK so we can make the site better 1 year
_pk_ses This helps us identify how you use GOV.UK so we can make the site better When you close your browser


A cookie is set to record your session activity.

Name Purpose Expires
APP_SESSION Stores session data When you close your browser

Our introductory message

You may see a pop-up welcome message when you first visit. A cookie is stored so that your computer knows you’ve seen it and knows not to show it again.

Name Purpose Expires
seen_cookie_message Saves a message to let us know that you have seen our cookie message 1 month