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Cookies and Privacy

What is a cookie?


Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site.


How do cookies work?


A website's cookies store information on your user device, which then gets sent back to that website each time you visit.  Sometimes this information is essential to access a website's functions - for example if you need to log in, a cookie will allow the website to recognise your log-in details. 


Cookies can also be used to build a profile of your activity on a website - which pages you visit, how long you spend on each page.  A website may then use this information to tailor the pages that you see when you visit the site in the future.


Do websites need permission to do this?


Yes.  The regulations which set out the rules on this changed on 26 May 2011.  Before that date, websites which used cookies had to tell you and give you the chance to opt out if you objected.  From 26 May 2011, websites must now get your active consent.  In other words, it used to be the case that cookies were permitted unless you objected.  Now, cookies are not permitted unless you agree to them. 


The regulations, known as the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, are enforced by the UK Information Commissioner (ICO). 


Does the Employee Handbook website use cookies?


Yes.  A list of 1st party websites used on the site and their purpose is provided below. 

Google Analytics

In addition, we use Google Analytics, which uses the following cookies:


These cookies are used to collect information about how visitors use our site. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form, including the number of visitors to the site, where visitors have come to the site from and the pages they visited.

The information we collect is anonymous - it cannot be used to identify you personally. 


Can I control or delete cookies?


All recent versions of popular browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox) allow you to control cookies.  Typically, you can set your browser to accept or reject all, or certain cookies.  You might, for example, be happy to accept a cookie that allows you to log in to a website, but prefer to reject any which are used to build a profile of your internet usage.  You should also be able to set your browser to prompt you each time a cookie is offered. 


For more detailed instructions on how to control or delete cookies on different browsers, please visit the ICO's Cookies page.




The Scottish Parliament occasionally embeds YouTube videos on its website.  We embed videos using YouTube’s privacy-enhanced mode. This mode may set cookies on your computer once you click on the YouTube video player, but YouTube will not store personally identifiable cookie information for playbacks of embedded videos using the privacy-enhanced mode.  YouTube videos use the following cookies:


  • PREF - This cookie stores your basic preferences, such as choice of language and other information, so you don’t need to set preferences each time you use the site.  Expires after eight months.

  • YSC - This cookie is set by the YouTube video service on pages with embedded YouTube video.  Expires at end of session.

  • VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE - A cookie that YouTube sets that measures your bandwidth to determine whether you get the new player interface or the old.  Expires after eight months

  • remote_sid - This cookie is set by the YouTube video service on pages with embedded YouTube video. Expires at the end of your session


To find out more please visit YouTube’s information page on embedding videos.

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