Your privacy: how cookies are used on the Parliament website

The Parliament website uses cookies – small files stored on your computer or mobile phone – to help us understand how people use our website. Cookies are also used to support specific areas of the site, but only with the user’s consent.

Why Parliament uses cookies

We want to make our website easy to use, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies.

They cannot be used to identify you personally, and do not collect information from your computer.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • Measuring how people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • Understanding what technology people are using to access the site – for example the browser they are using or whether they are accessing from a mobile phone
  • Enabling a service to recognise your device so you have don’t have to give the same information several times during one task
  • Recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t have to do it for every web page requested

Our use of cookies

This list is correct as of June 2011, but it’s likely our use of cookies will change over time. We will endeavour to keep this list up to date when new cookies are added.  

Cookies for measuring performance of the website

By understanding how people use the Parliament website, we can make improvements to the navigation and content to make the site better and easier to access.

We use Google Analytics to gather data on the number of people accessing our site, where they are accessing from, what pages they visit, and what technology they are using. Google Analytics cannot identify your personally, but does allow us to understand our users as a group, for example by recording what browsers are being used.

Name: _utma
Typical content: randomly generated number ~
Expires: 2 years

Name: _utmb
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: 30 minutes

Name: _utmc
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: when user exits browser

Name: _utmz
Typical content: randomly generated number and information about how the page was reached (eg directly or via a link, organic search or paid search)
Expires: 6 months

Name: __utmmobile
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires: 2 years  

In addition, we run a monthly satisfaction survey. This uses a cookie to record if a user completed the survey in the previous three-month period, so that users aren’t asked every month. 

Name: UK Parliament website monthly survey
Value: N=Wed, 20 Jul 2011 14:30:51 GMT
Expires: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 14:30:51 GMT   

Cookies to support specific elements of the site

Some elements of the site use cookies to make them easier to use.

These are:

Race Against Chime 

This game – in the Education section of the site – uses cookies only if you have asked to connect the game to your Facebook account. This cookie stores your nickname, Facebook ID and your score.

Name: fbsetting_8a99ce37a8803de5e450ee9e0dbb9d20
Typical content: Information is only stored when a user connects with Facebook. This cookie stores your nickname, FacebookID and total score.
Expires: 1 day

This information is only stored when a user connects with Facebook, and is stored in a database on the server. If you are playing the game without connecting to Facebook, no cookies are stored.

The Speaker’s School Council site uses cookies as part of the login process.

Name: SESS9ab115a12f3da60212f97f23466e5ec4
Typical content: User name and password are stored. It allows users to log in again during the same session without re-entering their details.
Expires: When user exits browser