Privacy and Cookies

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.


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

You can manage these small files yourself and learn more about them through the GOV.UK web page “Internet browser cookies – what they are and how to manage them”, by visiting the GOV.UK website.

First-party cookies (cookies set by us)

These are cookies set by DCMS web domain known as ‘first-party’ cookies. Some are necessary to the functionality of the site, others provide information to us that we analyse to monitor and improve the site. These first-party cookies do not store or collect any personal information or anything that make you personally identifiable to us. Typically, the cookies generate a random, unique number to store information about a user.


  • Purpose: to store the user’s session ID to allow the site to recognise your movement around the site as being from one computer
  • Data stored by cookie: information about the session
  • Duration of cookie:expires at the end of the session (when you close your browser)
  • Where it is used: search pages
  • Impact on user’s experience of the site: none


  • Purpose: to allow the visitor to retain or turn off the cookie information banner at the top of the page. When a user selects the option ‘Dont show this message again’ a cookie is set that will remember this preference for the user’s subsequent visits
  • Data stored by cookie: a flag set for ‘true’
  • Duration of cookie: one year
  • Where it is used: every page of the site
  • Impact on user’s experience of the site:  if the preference is not set the visitor will see the banner on every visit. When the preference is set the banner is removed

Google Analytics cookies: _utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmv, _utmd,_utmz

  • Purpose: to record how many people are using the DCMS website and how they move around the site once they’ve arrived. Google’s privacy policy
  • Data stored by cookies:
    • _utma stores each user’s number of visits, time of the first visit, the previous visit and the current visit
    • _utmb and _utmc checks how long a visitor stays on the site: when a visit starts and ends
    • _utmz tracks where a visitor came from (search engine, search keyword, link)
    • _utmv and _utmd track visitor journeys through the site and classifies them into groups
  • Duration of cookies:
    • _utma expires two years after your last visit to this site
    • _utmb expires 30 minutes after your visit, or after 30 minutes of inactivity
    • _utmc expires at the end of a session (when you close your browser)
    • _utmz expires six months after it was last set
    • _utmv (not set) expires immediately
    • _utmd (not set) expires immediately
  • Where it is used: all pages of site
  • Impact on user’s experience of the site: none

Third-party cookies (cookies set by other websites through our pages)

Some cookies are served by an external service when you use a page on our site, known as ‘third-party’ cookies. For example, on a number of pages we use embedded media such asYouTube videos. These cookies are specific to the third-party site domain – the data stored in them can be seen and managed by the third party, not by us. Although we can control whether we use the third-party services within our websites we do not have control over the cookies themselves. It is not always possible to identify precisely the information that the cookies store.

YouTube cookies: GEO, VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE, use_hitbox, PREF, recently_watched_video_id_list

  • Purpose: to track visitor views of YouTube videos embedded in Government Art Collection web pages and usage of its services
  • Data stored by cookies: unique identifier that allow visitor analysis, data is only used in aggregate.
  • Duration of cookie:
    • GEO expires after seven months
    • VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE expires after seven months
    • use_hitbox expires at the end of a session (when a user closes your browser).
    • PREF expires after 10 years
    • recently_watched_video_id_list expires after 7 months
  • Where it is used: on web pages with embedded you tube videos
  • Impact on user’s experience of the site: none

Flash cookie (Local Shared Object)

Flash cookies are small pieces of information deposited and accessed by Adobe Flash the browser application that lets you play/display Flash media files. Flash is used for displaying YouTube and Vimeo videos. The cookies are stored in a different location on your hard drive than standard cookies. More information about this cookie and how to remove it is available Adobe Macromedia’s Flash Player Help.

  • Purpose: stores information between sessions of using embedded Flash content
  • Data stored by cookies: a unique ID, tracking information, some configuration information about the computer running the movie.
  • Duration of cookie: no expiration date
  • Where it is used: on web pages with embedded flash content
  • Impact on user’s experience of the site: none

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 the About Cookies website, 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.

Personal data

Personal data (i.e. information which could identify you) submitted to us, for example in response to a consultation, will only be used to respond to your feedback. We will not pass it on to any third party (including other Government departments or agencies) without your consent.

This privacy statement only covers the Government Art Collection website at This statement does not cover links within this site to other websites.