The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) puts small files (known as ‘cookies’) onto your computer to collect information about how you browse our sites.

Cookies are used to:

  • measure how you use our websites so they 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

SFA 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 by SFA

Measuring website usage (Google Analytics)

We use Google Analytics software to collect information about how you use SFA sites. We do this to help make sure our sites are meeting the needs of its users and to help us make improvements.

Google Analytics stores information about:

  • the pages you visit on SFA sites
  • how long you spend on each SFA page
  • how you got to our sites
  • what you click on while you’re visiting our sites

We don’t collect or store your personal information (for example 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 Purpose Expires
_ga This helps us count how many people visit SFA sites by tracking if you’ve visited before 2 years
_gat Used to manage the rate at which page view requests are made 10 minutes

You can opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Application Insight

We use Microsoft Azure Application Insights to monitor and improve the performance

Name Purpose Expires
ai_session Allow us to track a user over current session. 10 minutes
ai_user Allow us to track a user over a longer period of time. 1 year

Read more about Application Insights data retention

HotJar - user behaviour data

We use HotJar to anonymously monitor user behaviour and give us insight into how to fix user experience problems.

Name Purpose Expires after
_hjClosedSurveyInvites This cookie is set once a visitor interacts with a Survey invitation modal popup. It is used to ensure that the same invite does not re-appear if it has already been shown. 1 year
_hjDonePolls This cookie is set once a visitor completes a poll using the Feedback Poll widget. It is used to ensure that the same poll does not re-appear if it has already been filled in. 1 year
_hjMinimizedPolls This cookie is set once a visitor minimizes a Feedback Poll widget. It is used to ensure that the widget stays minimizes when the visitor navigates through your site. 1 year
_hjDoneTestersWidgets This cookie is set once a visitor submits their information in the Recruit User Testers widget. It is used to ensure that the same form does not re-appear if it has already been filled in. 1 year
_hjMinimizedTestersWidgets This cookie is set once a visitor minimizes a Recruit User Testers widget. It is used to ensure that the widget stays minimizes when the visitor navigates through your site. 1 year
_hjIncludedInSample This session cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that visitor is included in the sample which is used to generate funnels. 1 year

Our introductory message

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

Name Purpose Expires
seen_cookie_message Saves a message to let us know that you’ve seen our cookie message 30 days

Government services

Most services we link to are run by different government departments, eg HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or the Home Office. These services may set additional cookies and, if so, will have their own cookies policy.

Our performance survey

We use SurveyMonkey to collect responses to the survey. If you take part, SurveyMonkey will save extra cookies to your computer to track your progress through it.