Cookie Policy

HM Government Public Appointments puts small files (known as ‘cookies’) onto your computer to collect information about how you browse the site.

Cookies are small text files containing a string of characters that can be placed on your computer or mobile device that uniquely identify your browser or device. Cookies tell us if your computer or device has visited the site before. They help us understand how the site is being used, help you navigate between pages efficiently, help remember your preferences, and generally improve your browsing experience.

Cookies help us remember what notifications we send you and make our general communications relevant to you and your interests. Changes made to this policy can be identified by the ‘last updated’ date at the bottom of this page. Any changes to how your cookie data is processed will be promptly reflected in this policy and will immediately apply to you and your data. If these changes affect how your data is processed, the [Service Name] will take reasonable steps to let you know.

Accepting all cookies via our website banner activates those cookie settings that are listed as optional on the settings page (that is, not ‘strictly necessary’). Your activation of all optional cookies lasts for 3 months and the banner will appear again. This gives you the opportunity to regularly re-visit and adjust your decision. Find out more about how to manage cookies, including how to delete and block them, on the Information Commission Office’s website. To learn more about how we protect and process your information see our Privacy Notice.

Strictly necessary cookies

These cookies do things like remember your preferences and the choices you make, to personalise your experience of using the HM Government Public Appointments.

Name Purpose Expires
AWSALB Allows us to deliver the service seamlessly from multiple services using a load balancer. The cookie records which server cluster is serving you 1 week
AWSALBCORS Allows us to deliver the service seamlessly from multiple services using a load balancer. The cookie records which server cluster is serving you. 1 week


Cookies message

You may see a banner when you visit HM Government Public Appointments inviting you to accept cookies or review your settings. We’ll set cookies so that your computer knows you’ve seen it and not to show it again, and also to store your settings.

Name Purpose Expires
seen_cookie_message Lets us know if you’ve seen our cookie message 1 year
cookie_policy Saves your cookie consent settings 1 year


Messages across HM Government Public Appointments

We might display a message on all HM Government Public Appointments pages to tell you about an important event or situation. We’ll save a cookie that will let us know how many times you’ve seen it, or if you’ve dismissed it.

Name Purpose Expires
global_bar_seen Remembers the number of times you’ve seen the message, or if you’ve dismissed it 12 weeks


Contacting HM Government Public Appointments

Name Purpose Expires
govuk_contact_referrer This lets us know the last page you visited before using the contact HM Government Public Appointments form 1 day


Cookies that measure website use

We use Google Analytics software (Universal Analytics) to collect anonymised information about how you use this site. We do this to help make sure the site is meeting the needs of its users and to help us make improvements. We do not allow Google to use or share the data about how you use this site.

Google Analytics stores information about:

  • how you got to the site
  • the pages you visit on this site and how long you spend on them
  • what you click on while you’re visiting the site

Google Analytics sets the following cookies.

Name Purpose Expires
_ga This helps us count how many people visit HM Government Public Appointments by tracking if you’ve visited before 2 year
_gid This helps us count how many people visit HM Government Public Appointments by tracking if you’ve visited before 24 hours
_gat Used to manage the rate at which page view requests are made 10 minutes

You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies.


Cookies that help with our communications

Some HM Government Public Appointments pages may contain content from other sites, like YouTube or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. These sites are sometimes called ‘third party’ services. This tells us how many people are seeing the content and whether it’s useful.

In addition, if you share a link to a [Service Name] page, the service you share it on (for example, Facebook) may set a cookie. We have no control over cookies set on other websites – you can turn them off, but not through us.


YouTube videos

We use YouTube to show videos on some HM Government Public Appointments pages. YouTube sets cookies when you visit one of these pages.

Name Purpose Expires
_use_hitbox This is a randomly generated number that identifies your browser When you close your browser
VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE Lets YouTube count the views of embedded YouTube videos 9 months



If you click on our homepage timeline Twitter may receive information including the homepage URL, your IP address, browser type, operating system, and cookie information.

Twitter will never associate this web browsing history with users’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, or Twitter handles, and they delete, obfuscate, or aggregate it after no longer than 30 days. Twitter sets the following cookies:

Name Purpose Expires
_twitter_sess This allows the Twitter feed to function on our homepage When you close your browser
ct0 These cookie allows users to share content from our website, in retweets and replies 6 year
external_referer Used to identify you to Twitter, if you do not have a Twitter account or never accessed the website directly then it will assign a unique code to track your visit to the feed 1 week
guest_id This cookie is used for targeting specific content and messages to the user 2 year
personalization_id This cookie is used for targeting specific content and messages to the user 2 year

Twitter also own the domain which places the following language cookie, enabling Twitter to determine the language settings of your browser, to better show you relevant information in the right language.

Name Purpose Expires
lang This stores language preferences to serve content in the users preferred language When you close your browser


Website registration (WordPress)

This website is built using the WordPress content management system. WordPress uses the following cookies to enable registered users to log into the website:

Name Purpose Expires
WordPress_test_cookie This site uses a number of WordPress plugins to aid functionality, and this cookie ensures they are enabled When you close your browser
cookie_policy This is used to indicate when a website administrator is logged in When you close your browser

Change your cookie options

You can change which cookies you’re happy for us to use.

Last updated 5 November 2020