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Cookies

What are cookies and why do we use them?

A cookie is a small text marker stored on your computer that enables us to track the use of our website. We use cookies to sign in and register with our website, to remember your accessibility settings and ensure the website is as user friendly as possible. Most big websites do this too.

You can control cookies through your web browser settings, allowing you to choose whether to use sites with cookies.

Please note: if you delete or disable our cookies you may not be able to register on our site and benefit from some of our online features.

Our website uses cookies in several places - we've listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Registering or signing in

Server generated cookies

  • AWSELB - "Amazon Web Services Elastic Load Balancer" - Used to direct your request to the appropriate server. No personal information is contained or used.
  • Firmstep2server - Used to direct your request to the appropriate server. No personal information is stored.
  • Firmstep2session - A unique identifier given to you for the duration of your site visit. It is used to ensure that you and only you are shown information relevant to you. It contains no personally identifiable information, but is temporarily linked to your user account when you log in.
  • ASP.NET_SessionId - A unique identifier given to you for the duration of your site visit. It is used to ensure that you and only you are shown information relevant to you. It contains no personally identifiable information, but is temporarily linked to your user account if you log in.
  • PHPSESSID - Same as above but unique to Self sites

Cookies set by javascript

  • 0.js:
    • fs2logevents: Only set by explicit user action. Increases the level of internal debug information kept by the browser.
    • fs2debug: Only set by explicit user action. Causes the display of a button to allow the user to submit browser debug information for diagnostics.
    • fs2diag: Only set by explicit user action. Causes the display of a toolbar that can submit or display browser debug information.
    • NoAJAT: Used to disable AJAX. Only appears in redundant code. No longer actually set/used.
  • combined.js:
    • ui-tabs: Used by the client to maintain tabs state when the user moves between pages.

Storing accessibility settings

If you use our accessibility settings to change how our website looks, then we will set a cookie so your settings are remembered.

Cookies used for accessibility options
Cookie name Typical Content Expires
userColourscheme Name of the colour scheme (e.g. 'soft1') 1 hour
userFontsize Font size chosen (e.g. 'larger') 1 hour
userFontchoice Font style chosen (e.g. 'comicsans') 1 hour
userLetterspacing Letter spacing chosen (e.g. 'wide') 1 hour

Internal search engine

Our site search uses Google Site Search, which continuously monitors and indexes the content of the site. It is designed to work exactly like Google on the web.

Social sharing

Social sharing audio and video services are run by other companies, who may put cookies on your computer when you use them on our site or if you are already logged in to them.

Services that we may use and their use of cookies:

Statistics

To improve our service we collect anonymous web statistics using programmes called Google Analytics and SiteImprove. They store several cookies on users' computers or mobiles devices to tell us how many people have visited each web page, how they got there, and where they navigated to from there. The data collected is completely anonymous and does not store any personal details.

If you don't want your web visits to be tracked for statistical purposes like this, you can tell us not to use cookies. Pick 'No, please do not use cookies' at the top of our web pages. If you have previously picked 'Yes, please use cookies', you can restore the option by clearing your cookies.

You have the opportunity to set your computer to accept all cookies, to notify you when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. The way in which you do this depends upon the web browser which you use. Go to www.aboutcookies.org/ to find out more.

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