Cookies are small data files that we place on your computer. They improve your experience by:

  • remembering settings and information (like the names of health or social care services you've searched for) so you don't have to keep re-entering them.
  • measuring how you use the website so we can make sure it meets your needs.

Cookies do not identify you personally.

Types of cookies and how we use them

First party cookies

First party cookies are our own. We control them and use them to provide information about the way you use our website.

Has_js Some parts of our website use javascript - a web language - to display content. If your web browser has javascript disabled, it helps us to know so that we can display the page to you in another way. This cookie allows our website to know if you have javascript enabled or not.

healthwatch_cookiecontrol This maintains the open/closed state of the "Cookie Control" dialog.

Third party cookies

Third party cookies are set by other websites. We use their online tools to make our website work better for you.

lang  This is set by the Twitter widget and simply stores a language code.

Measuring website usage through Google analytics

We use Google Analytics to view statistics on the way you use our website. We can check:

  • how many people have visited our website and what content they look at.
  • how many times documents have been downloaded.
  • what people are looking for on our website.

We use the following third party cookies set by Google Analytics.

_ga Used to distinguish users and expires after two years.

_gid Used to distinguish users and expires after 24 hours.

_gat Used to throttle request rate and expires after one minute.

For more information, please read Google's Privacy Policy at

Managing the cookies on your computer

You can restrict or block cookies set by our website and others by changing the settings in your browser. Doing this however may impact the way our website works for you in the future.

Visit the About Cookies website at to find out more about restricting or blocking cookies in different browsers.

You can also learn more about cookies at on the DirectGov website.