What are website cookies?

A cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies allow a website to recognise a user's device. Cookies can expire at the end of a browser session (from when a user opens the browser window to when they exit the browser) or they can be stored for longer.

Video explaining why government websites may use cookies

Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. Find out how government websites use cookies, and how to control which cookies get set on your computer or smartphone

Different types of cookies

Session cookies

Session cookies allow websites to link the actions of a user during a browser session. They may be used for a variety of purposes such as remembering what a user has put in their shopping basket as they browse around a site. They could also be used for security when a user is accessing internet banking or to facilitate use of webmail. These session cookies expire after a browser session so would not be stored longer term. For this reason session cookies may sometimes be considered less privacy intrusive than persistent cookies.

Persistent cookies

Persistent cookies are stored on a users' device in between browser sessions which allows the preferences or actions of the user across a site (or in some cases across different websites) to be remembered. Persistent cookies may be used for a variety of purposes including remembering users' preferences and choices when using a site or to target advertising.

First and third party cookies

Whether a cookie is ‘first' or ‘third' party refers to the website or domain placing the cookie. First party cookies in basic terms are cookies set by a website visited by the user - the website displayed in the URL window. Third party cookies are cookies that are set by a domain other than the one being visited by the user. If a user visits a website and a separate company sets a cookie through that website this would be a third party cookie.

Cookies and the law

The EU law states that we must

  • tell you that the cookies are there
  • explain to you what the cookies do

You can find more information about cookies and the law on these websites:

Use of cookies by Worcester City Council

You may delete and block all cookies from our website(s) using your web browser settings, however blocking or restricting cookies may affect the functionality of our website and parts of it may not work as intended or as you would expect. The following table shows you which cookies we currently use. We are continuously reviewing the cookies we use, and will be updating this list when necessary.

Cookies used by our website




More information

Cookie alert


This cookie stores whether the user has accepted the cookie notice to prevent the user being prompted more than once in a 30 day period.

If this cookie is removed, you will be prompted to acknowledge our cookie notice once again.

Current page


This cookie stores the ID of the current page so that the user can be returned to this page if required they are required to log in. 

This cookie is not essential for any user that will not log into the website.



Facebook sets cookies when we embed their ‘like' box on our page.

datr and lu expire after 2 years.
locale expires after a week.
The rest expire when you close your browser.



Random alphanumeric code

These cookies are created by default and are not required to use the site. 

These cookies create non-essential session IDs.

Google Analytics



We use Google Analytics to monitor traffic levels, search queries, visits to this website and to see how visitors move around the site when they are using it.

These cookies help us to improve the way our website works (for example by ensuring that users are finding what they are looking for easily).

_utma and _utmv expire after 2 years.
_utmb expires after 30 minutes.
_utmc expires when you close your browser.
_utmz expires after 6 months.

Google  Anti-spam


This cookie is a necessary part of our website security for some of our customer online contact forms within the website. We use this cookie to prevent automated attacks on our website by distinguishing between real human users and automated computer services. This allows us to protect our customer data. In terms of Google, the data collected is used only to provide, maintain, protect and improve the reCAPTCHA service and other Google anti-spam services.

Google logs information related to reCAPTCHA, such as the Internet Protocol address of the end-user, an identifier for the implementing site, the URL of the site accessed, the CAPTCHA solution, the result of the CAPTCHA grading, the date and time of requests, and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify the end-user browser. Google will delete any information that identifies the individual URLs within the implementing site within 30 days of the event logged.

Logged in


This cookie stores the login status for a session.

This cookie is not essential for any user that will not log into the website.



Twitter sets cookies when we embed their widget on our page.

guest_id and pid expire after 2 years.
k expires after a week.
External_referer expires after 1 day.



YouTube (Google) sets cookies when we embed their YouTube player in a webpage.

PREF expires in 10 years.
VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE expires in 8 months