HM Government Childcare Choices


Childcare Choices puts small files (known as ‘cookies’) onto your computer to collect information about how you browse the site.

Cookies are used to:

  • measure how you use the website so it can be updated and improved based on your needs
  • remember the notifications you’ve seen so that we don’t show them to you again

Childcare Choices cookies aren’t used to identify you personally.

You’ll normally see a message on the site before we store a cookie on your computer.

Find out more about how to manage cookies.

How cookies are used on Childcare Choices

Measuring website usage (Google Analytics)

We use Google Analytics software to collect information about how you use Childcare Choices. We do this to help make sure the site is meeting the needs of its users and to help us make improvements.

Google Analytics stores information about:

  • the pages you visit on Childcare Choices
  • how long you spend on each Childcare Choices page
  • how you got to the site
  • what you click on while you’re visiting the site

We don’t collect or store your personal information (eg your name or address) so this information can’t be used to identify who you are.

We don’t allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

Google Analytics sets the following cookies:

Universal Analytics

Name: _ga
Purpose: This helps us count how many people visit Childcare Choices by tracking if you’ve visited before
Expires: 2 years

Name: _gat
Purpose: Used to manage the rate at which page view requests are made
Expires: 10 minutes

Name: _gat_UA-*
Purpose: Used to manage the rate at which page view requests are made
Expires: 1 minute

Name: _gid
Purpose: Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.
Expires: 24 hours

Name: _gcl_au
Purpose: Used by Google AdSense for experimenting with advertisement efficiency across websites.
Expires: 90 days

You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Our cookie information bar

You may see a pop-up cookie message when you first visit Childcare Choices. We’ll store a cookie so that your computer knows you’ve seen it and knows not to show it again.

Name: cb-enabled
Purpose: To tells us if you have seen the cookie bar before
Expires: 1 year

Form response tracking

When you fill in the main form on our home page, we set some cookies, recording your responses. This allows us to pre-populate the form should you leave our site to visit another page on (e.g. on, and then come back to Childcare Choices. This saves you from having to re-enter your details again.

Name: userEarning
Purpose: To store user's earning form response.
Expires: 30 minutes

Name: partnerEarning
Purpose: To store partner's earning form response.
Expires: 30 minutes

Name: hasPartner
Purpose: To store users 'Do you live with a partner?' form response.
Expires: 30 minutes

Session tracking

Name: X-Mapping-fjhppofk
Purpose: Provides session tracking across a load balancing server
Expires: When you close your browser

Third-party cookies


We embed videos from our official YouTube channel, YouTube may set cookies on page load or during playback.
Read more at YouTube’s embedding videos information page.

* denotes a prefix to the cookie name

Name: PREF*
Expires: 8 months

Name: VSC*
Expires: When you close your browser

Name: GPS
Expires: 1 day

Expires: 8 months

Name: remote_sid*
Expires: When you close your browser

YouTube also may place cookies on your machine, as part of their advertising strategy.

Name: IDE
Expires: 6 months


We use a Facebook pixel to track our social media campaign success. Facebook uses cookies on your machine to effectively record your journey to the site. Read more on the About Facebook Pixel page.

Name: _fbp
Expires: 90 days