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The OFT closed on 31 March 2014 and this website is no longer being updated. The OFT's work and responsibilities have passed to a number of different bodies. Read more.

Cookies policy

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, 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.

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What are cookies? 

Cookies are pieces of data created when you visit a site, and contain a unique, anonymous number. They are stored in the cookie directory of your hard drive. Some expire at the end of your website session, others remain on your computer for slightly longer.

Cookies do not contain any personal information about you and cannot be used to identify an individual user. Cookies on this site may safely be turned off by users without affecting how pages are displayed.

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How cookies are used

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

  • enabling a service to recognise your device so you 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 need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there's enough capacity to ensure they are fast 
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with government services so we can make them better.

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Manage cookies and learn more

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the Directgov article: Internet Browser cookies - what they are and how to manage them

If you'd like to learn how to remove cookies set on your device, visit:

www.aboutcookies.org/Default.aspx?page=1'Our use of cookies'

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Types of cookies - 'First-party' cookies

First-party cookies are cookies set by the specific website visited by the user - the website displayed in the URL window.

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Our use of cookies

The OFT website uses cookies, firstly to check whether your device (computer or mobile) recognises and allows the use of cookies, and then to improve the service provided on our website.

The individual cookies that we use on our website are listed below with their purpose, the content that you would see in your internet browser cookies section and how long the cookies stay on your device.

 

Cookies that check whether your computer supports cookies

Some cookies simply check whether your device is compatible with the functions on our website that use cookies.

Name of cookie: ns_cookietest
Specific purpose: To determine whether cookies are enabled on your device (computer or mobile)
Typical content: 'True'
Expires on a user's machine after: End of website session 

Name of cookie: oft-cookies-enabled
Specific purpose: To determine whether cookies are enabled on your device (computer or mobile)
Typical content: 'Cookies'
Expires on a user's machine after: 1 day 

Name of cookie: ns_session
Specific purpose: To determine whether cookies are enabled on your device (computer or mobile)
Typical content: 'True'
Expires on a user's machine after: End of website session

 

Cookies for improving service

We have set up cookies to allow you to bookmark pages that are particularly useful or contain certain information, and to provide you with a list of pages that you have viewed recently, should you wish to return to any of them. Other cookies from our site help us accurately estimate the number of visitors to the website and volumes of usage. This is to ensure that the service is available when you want it and fast.

 

Personalised content

This classification covers cookies which are used to improve your website visit by remembering user settings.  They allow you to bookmark particular pages, see what pages you've recently browsed and keep you logged into particular website sections rather than having to enter your details every time you visit the website.

Name of cookie: oft-history
Specific purpose: To remember your selections or preferences that you've already made when looking at information, providing a 'recently viewed pages' function on all website pages.
Typical content: randomly generated set of numbers
Expires on a user's machine after: 2 months 

Name of cookie: oft-favourites
Specific purpose: Allows you to use the 'bookmark this page' function, so that you can easily return to pages that you have listed as particularly useful
Typical content: randomly generated set of numbers
Expires on a user's machine after: 2 months

Name of cookie: rememberMe
Specific purpose: Once you have logged on to the Skilled to go section of the website with username and password, so you don't have to do it for every Web page you request from our service. Also to make it easier to log in again if you choose 'Remember me'.
Typical content: User's username
Expires on a user's machine after: 28 days 

Name of cookie: SOGA-reg-pop
Specific purpose: If you have answered a survey or question presented in a pop-up on the SOGA hub, in order to prevent another invitation to respond to it
Typical content: 'Yes'
Expires on a user's machine after: 2 months

Name of cookie: STG-reg-pop
Specific purpose: If you have answered a survey or question presented in a pop-up in the Skilled to go section, in order to prevent another invitation to respond to it
Typical content: 'Yes'
Expires on a user's machine after: 2 months

Name of cookie: DS-reg-pop
Specific purpose: If you have answered a survey or question presented in a pop-up on the Distance Selling hub, in order to prevent another invitation to respond to it
Typical content: 'Yes'
Expires on a user's machine after: 2 months

 

Web analytics and metrics

This category comprises cookies that we use to evaluate website performance by looking at statistics like number of visits and unique visitors.

Name of cookie: JSESSION ID
Specific purpose: So service is available when you want it and fast, we measure numbers and volumes of visitors
Typical content: randomly generated number
Expires on a user's machine after: End of website session

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How to control and delete cookies

We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you.

However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by our websites, or indeed any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. The 'Help' function within your browser should tell you how.

Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your machine as well as more general information about cookies.

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the functionality of our website.

If you wish to view your cookie code, just click on a cookie to open it. You'll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the server that gave you the cookie.

For information on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

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Feedback

If you have any questions or feedback, please use our website feedback service.




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