What are they?
A cookie is a small data file that a website can cause to be stored on your computer as a result of you visiting that website. It just holds data and cannot be executed in any way; it thus cannot be used to retreive any other information from your computer. Only the website that created the cookie will be able to read its contents, to retrieve the data it has previously stored in it, either as you move between pages of that site during a particular visit, or when you visit the site again in the future. As well as deciding what data to store in a cookie, the website can also set it to expire either at the end of your browsing session (i.e. when you close your browser the cookie should also be destroyed), or at some future time. Once a cookie has expired, your browser should destroy it (although it depends on your browser's settings whether it actually does so).
Cookies set by the website you are visiting are known as "first party" cookies. It is also possible for other websites to set cookies during your visit to the first site, for example as a result if that site displaying an advert or other information from another site embedded within its pages. These are known as "third party" cookies.
We use a cookie to store a simple identification number that allows us to recognise you as a unique visitor during your visit to our site. We use this to hold any information that you enter in a form on our site for the duration of your visit, so that you do not have to enter it again if you visit the same form again, or visit other forms that require the same information. This cookie is set to expire at the end of your browsing session; that is, your browser should delete the cookie form your system when you close your browser window.
Under UK law, it is our understanding that we do not need your prior consent before using cookies in this way, as they are deemed necessary for the operation of this site, but if you still wish to prevent us doing so, see the section below on controlling cookies. The functions described above should still work, but in a less secure way.
How To Control Cookies
You can control whether we, or other websites you visit, can store cookies on your computer by using the options provided by your internet browser program. These will typically be found under a menu or toolbar button such as "Options", "Preferences", "Security", "Privacy" etc. Depending on which browser program you are using, you should be able to control whether cookies are allowed or blocked for all websites you visit or only for specific sites, and to distinguish between first and third party cookies. For further information, see the help provided by your browser program.
Note that if you use different browsers, computers or other devices to browse the Internet, you will need to change the settings of each browser or device individually.