The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Privacy notice – how we collect and use your information

This privacy notice tells you what to expect when we collect personal information about visitors to our websites.

Website visitors

When someone visits www.electoralcommission.org.uk we collect standard internet log information which shows how visitors are using the site. We do this to monitor the number of visitors to the various parts of the site, and to analyse the behaviour of our visitors in order to help us to provide you with a better user experience.

We collect this information in a way that does not identify anyone. We do not make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting any of our websites. We will not associate any data gathered from this site with any personally identifying information from any source. If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be up front about this and get your consent. We will make it clear when we collect personal information (PDF) and will explain what we intend to do with it.

Use of cookies by the Electoral Commission

Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. Cookies will often record information such as a user’s preferences for options on a site, or on a transactional site a cookie will be used to identify a logged-in user and preserve the integrity of the data they are entering. Cookies are also used to identify website visitors for the purposes of analysing site usage.

Some cookies are placed on your computer by the website you are visiting but others are placed by third parties, often to track website usage. When you visit an Electoral Commission website, a small number of third party cookies may be placed on your computer to help analyse usage or to monitor the success of our campaigns. We provide information about these below and show you how to get further information about them.

The tables below explain the cookies we use and why:


Set by Duration


System_Session Website Deleted when user leaves site Identifies user for duration of visit to site
_utma Google Analytics Never expires Tracks number of visits, the time of the first visit, the previous visit, and the current visit www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html
_utmb Google Analytics Deleted when user leaves site (or after 30 minutes of inactivity) Tracks when a visit starts. With _utmc determines length of visit www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html
_utmc Google Analytics Deleted when user leaves site (or after 30 minutes of inactivity)

Tracks when a visit ends www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html

_utmz Google Analytics 6 months

Tracks where a user came from (e.g. search engine, another site) www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html

WEBTRENDS_ID WebTrends 10 years

Identifies unique users and duration of visit http://webtrends.com/privacy-policy/

WT_FPC WebTrends 10 years


EC_survey_box Website 6 months  This cookie is used to record if a user has been presented with the survey pop-up once in 6 months. Once this cookie has been recorded, you will not be prompted to complete the survey again for at least 6 months, if using the same browser.  

If you visit the PEF Online section, additional cookies to those set out above will be placed:

Name Set by Duration  Description
ASP.NET_SessionId Website Deleted when user leaves site or after 20 minutes of inactivity Identifies user for duration of visit to site
PEFLanguage Website 1 year Identifies whether user prefers English or Welsh language version of site

If you visit the political finance search site, no additional cookies to those set out above are used. This site only uses the Google Analytics cookies.   

Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit www.allaboutcookies.org.

To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout

If you continue to access the Commission’s websites without changing these settings, we will consider that you consent to the use of cookies as set out above. Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the functionality of our websites. 

Other personal information

The Electoral Commission also collects personal data by means of our day-to-day activities and contact with people who access our services. We have to hold the details of the people who have requested a service in order to provide it. However, we only use these details to provide the service the person has requested.  

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated April 2012.

How to contact us

Queries about how we collect and handle personal information may be submitted to us by mail or email. Please send requests to:

Janice Reid
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ

General information

  1. This site has security measures in place to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of material under our control. However, we accept no responsibility for alteration, manipulation or interpretation of its data once placed on the World Wide Web.
  2. Our information on the World Wide Web is subject to change without notice.
  3. Where we provide links to sites, we do not by doing so endorse any information or opinions appearing in them.
  4. We accept no liability over the availability of linked pages.
  5. This website is governed by UK law.

Privacy notice