What cookies are, why we use them, how you can manage them and what we do with the information.

Cookies are small text files downloaded by your web browser and stored on your computer, smart phone or tablet as you visit websites.

Using your browser to disable or enable cookies

You can use your internet browser (for example, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox) to manage cookies across all websites you use. This includes being able to block and delete cookies. 

The website provides instructions on how to manage cookies:

If you are using your browser's settings to block or delete cookies, whilst you will still be able to use our site you may encounter some issues.

How can cookies help a website?

Cookies help a website to operate correctly and aid user experience, and they are used by most websites. They have many purposes, including:

  • allowing a website to 'remember' you and your preferences, such as the font size, during visits
  • storing information, such as the items you have put in your online shopping basket
  • enabling the collection of analytical data that website owners can use, such as how many times a web page has been viewed
  • operating 'targeted' advertising.

Different types of cookie

  • Session cookies - Temporary cookies that are deleted from your device when a browser is closed and the session ended.
  • Persistent cookies - These are stored on your device for a defined period of time.
  • First party cookies - These are set by the website you are visiting and can only be accessed and used by that website.
  • Third party cookies - Set through a website by a party other than the one that owns the website, usually through applications or functions created by other companies that a website may implement on its pages. The importance of third party cookies is that they can be used to track users across websites.

Learn more about cookies

Our use of cookies

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this involves the use of cookies.

The cookies we use cannot be used to identify you personally.

Our use of cookies:

  • helps us to make sure our site operates correctly and efficiently
  • provides accessibility and functionality
  • collects usage statistics that allow us to monitor how our site is used so that we can improve it.

The table below shows cookies used across

NSC_xxxx (name changes but prefixed NSC)

Network load balancer cookie that ensures our servers do not become overloaded by requests by distributing workload.

1 hour
ASP.Net _SessionID

Used to identify requests linked to the same browser session.

Session (deleted when browser is closed)

Used to hide the cookie banner on our site once you have seen it.

1 year

Used to remember the rating you have given to a page. The name of the cookie will be 'rating' followed by a number which relates to the page you have rated.


Used when browsing a guide page to determine which section to show.


Used to hide 'Update your browser' banner when you are using an out-of-date browser.

1 year

Used to indicate if you have participated in the pop-up survey that appears on some pages on our site.

1 day

Used so website can identify requests linked to the same browser session.

Session (deleted when browser is closed)

Used in the management of requests to the Netweaver application server.

Session (deleted when browser is closed)

Used to recognise successful login to account area (SPOCC).

Session (deleted when browser is closed)

Essential for the correct functioning of the payment application (Capita Software Solutions Online Payments).

Session (deleted when browser is closed)

Network load balancing cookie that ensures our servers do not become overloaded by requests by distributing workload (Windows Azure).


Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics (GA), a web analytics service from Google, to help us collect site use statistics. The following cookies related to this service may be set:

_utma Used to determine unique visitors to our site and is updated with each pageview.  2 years from set/update
_utmb Used to establish and continue a user session. 30 minutes from set/update
_utmc Used in conjunction with the _utmb cookie to determine whether or not to establish a new session for the user. Session (deleted when browser is closed)
_utmz Stores the type of referral used by the visitor to reach our site, whether via a direct method, a referring link, a website search, or a campaign such as an advert or email link. 6 months from set/update
_ga Used to distinguish a user as unique. 2 years
_gat Used to throttle request rate. 10 minutes

Google Analytics uses first party cookies through our website to collect standard internet log information and visitor behaviour. This information is sent to Google and is used by us to evaluate how our website is being used, and review and improve our sites.

West Sussex County Council does not collect (nor allow any third party to collect) personally identifiable information of visitors to our site. We will not:

  • associate any data gathered with any personally identifying information
  • link or seek to link an IP address with the identity of a computer user.

In short, GA doesn't identify who you are, but does track your movements on our websites.

Google provide a browser-based tool that you can install and use to opt out of all GA data collection. You can install it from their Google Analytics opt-out page.

We publish summary reports of website data collected through GA on the West Sussex Data Store page.

Third party sites and applications

We use a variety of third party functions and applications to enrich and improve our content. While we try to limit the setting of cookies by these applications where possible, some cookies are unavoidable. Below is an outline of third party functionality used across our websites and information about the cookies they use.

Job search

  • Our job search functionality sets a number of session cookies to aid the search and application process.

You Tube

  • We embed our video content using YouTube. Information on how this website uses cookies can be found on the Google privacy pages. We have used YouTube's 'no-cookie' domain to stream videos on our site. This means that cookies will only be set by YouTube if you elect to play the video.

Citizen Space and Survey Monkey

  • We use Citizen Space (and occasionally Survey Monkey) to publish surveys. Information on their use of cookies is available on the Citizen Space and SurveyMonkey websites.


  • We use GovDelivery to send out our email alerts. Their sign-up process uses a session cookie relating to the subscription concerned and also sets a tracking cookie so it can understand activity within its service in order to improve the product. This cookie expires after a year. Information on GovDelivery's use of cookies can be found on the Legal and privacy page of their website.

Add This

  • The social media sharing buttons found on some of our pages are provided by Add This, which may set cookies. Using the buttons will mean that both Add This and the service requested (for example, Twitter or Facebook) may set a cookie. You can read the Add This policy on privacy and data practices on their website, where they also provide a data collection opt-out service. You should find information about how the third parties use cookies on their respective policy pages.

Twitter and Facebook

  • A small selection of pages have Twitter or Facebook activity streams and badges embedded in them. These use cookies, set by the respective service. Facebook may also set cookies on some pages if you are a Facebook user.

Google Maps

  • Where we have embedded Google Maps in our pages, cookies may be set by Google. Information on how Google uses cookies can be found on the Google privacy pages.

Library catalogue (Arena)

  • Arena (the library catalogue) use essential cookies which enable features such as wish lists and secure areas. It also uses third party cookies to link to social media services.

Who's On (Online web chat)

  • On some pages of the website online web chat available. This service is provided by Who's On, which uses a persistent cookie to set a user ID number for each user so that previous visits and chats can be linked together. 

Some known issues

  • SOCITM survey pop-up - This pop-up needs to set a cookie so that it can remember whether you have previously dismissed or completed the survey. If you are blocking cookies it will be unable to set this cookie and will therefore periodically re-appear on your screen as you browse our site.
  • Forms - Our forms software uses cookies. When completing forms on our website, you may encounter issues if you are blocking them. 
Last updated:
31 January 2017

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