Privacy and Cookies

Please take a moment to read the following Privacy Policy. This should be read in conjunction with our User Policy and Discussion Forum Policy. Please note that words which are defined in our User Policy also apply to this Privacy Policy. If there is anything you do not understand then please Contact Us.

In short

Full description

  1. Definitions

    esd is any website whose URL contains Visiting the site makes you a User, your organisation subscribing makes you a subscriber, or a Network Member if not, and extra permissions make you a Designated Officer.
    means the suite of web sites and software applications available at This includes all web pages, resources and content of the products esd, esd-toolkit, esd-standards, esd-forums and esd-suppliers.
    Anyone accessing the esd site. Personally identifiable data can only be obtained for Users who register or log into the site.
    User from an organisation which has paid a subscription to esd for use of additional features.
    "Network Member"
    User from an organisation, which has been approved by esd, but has not paid an active subscription fee.
    "Designated Officers"
    A Subscriber or Network Member given permission to perform a function not available to all Users.
  2. This Privacy Policy

    Using esd, especially registering, is acceptance of this Privacy Policy. Let us know if you do not accept any terms or would like your registration deleted. The Privacy Policy may change.

    We are committed to protecting your privacy online. This Privacy Policy sets out how we treat your personal information, allowing you to make informed choices about the personal information that you provide to us either via our website at, or otherwise in relation to esd.

    IMPORTANT: By accessing and using esd and submitting any personal information to us via or in relation to esd or (including our Discussion Forums) or your registration with esd, you will automatically be taken to have read, understood and accepted this Privacy Policy.

    If you do not want us to collect, use and/or transfer your personal information in this way then you should (depending on what it is you object to) cease to access and use esd and/or Contact Us and ask for your registration with esd to be deleted.

    This Privacy Policy may be amended from time to time, and we therefore suggest that you review it periodically.

  3. Cookies

    We use cookies to help your use of esd, which do not contain personal information, unless you select for your username to be stored. We collect statistical information which is aggregated and not used to identify you.

    What are cookies?

    Cookies are text files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your device when you visit a website. Cookies are then sent back to the originating website on each subsequent visit, or to another website that recognises that cookie. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise a user’s device. You can find more information about cookies at: and or for a video about cookies visit

    Cookies do lots of different jobs, like letting you navigate between pages efficiently, remembering your preferences, and generally improve the user experience.

    The cookies used on this website have been categorised based on the categories found in the ICC UK Cookie guide. A list of all the cookies used on this website by category is set out below.

    Category 1: strictly necessary cookies

    These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies services you have asked for cannot be provided.

    We use session cookies to store encrypted information about your current esd session. These cookies do not collect personal information, and we do not combine information collected through cookies with other personal information to tell us who you are or what your screen name or e-mail address is. The session cookies are deleted when you leave esd and close your browser.

    Category 2: performance cookies

    These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information that identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works.

    We also use cookies to collect statistical information about your use of esd using the Google Analytics system. The statistics gathered are aggregated and we do not access personal information from this data. View detailed information about Google Analytics cookies.

    Category 3: functionality cookies

    These cookies allow the website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced, more personal features. The information these cookies collect may be anonymised and they cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.

    If you select the checkbox for your username to be remembered, we will also use an additional cookie to collect and store your username. This cookie will only be created when the checkbox is selected.

    Category 4: targeting cookies or advertising cookies

    esd does not feature advertising or allow any cookies used by advertisers.

    Disabling cookies

    Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can alter your settings to allow you to be prompted every time a cookie is sent to you or you can choose not to receive cookies at all. However, please note that if you have 'disabled' cookies in your browser this way you may not be able to use certain features on esd.

  4. What we mean by personal information

    Personal information is any data which can be used to identify you.
    Personal information means any data from which you can be identified (including information such as your name, postal address, email address and password) and which concerns you. All personal information that we obtain from you in relation to esd will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this Privacy Policy and the Data Protection Act 1998.
  5. Personal information that we collect

    We collect information about you from your esd registration and any options selected in your profile. Any content added to esd may also potentially be used to identify you.

    Your "Record" constitutes the information we collect:

    • via the "Registration" page, comprising various details about you, including your name, email address, postal address, telephone number, job title, and any other comments you may have about your application to register to use esd;
    • via the "My Profile" page about your areas of interest.

    We also collect personal information when you submit personal information contained in any Content you may upload onto esd (including uploaded documents and posting messages on a Discussion Forum), or when you email, write to, or telephone us. From time to time we may also request additional information, either by contacting you directly or through esd. There will be no obligation on you to provide this additional information.

  6. How we use your personal information

    We use your personal information to work out which areas of esd are accessible. If selected in your profile, we may contact you about matters relating to esd. Personal information may appear in some areas available to other Subscribers or Network Members, such as discussions forums. You will always receive system based messages.

    Your personal information is used by us so that we can administer and support esd and your registration with esd, and to provide you with access to the appropriate areas and functions of esd (including to particular Content) depending on your status as a User. For example:

    • access to Hosted Areas is given only by Subscribers of the relevant Subscribing Authority;
    • access to certain discussion forums depends on whether you are a Network Member, a Subscriber or a Forum User;
    • Network Members and Subscribers are entitled to generate reports including the names and e-mail addresses of Users within their own Local Authority;
    • Subscribers are entitled to access and use the Network of Local Government Practitioners;
    • Content (other than postings on Discussion Forums) may only be uploaded by Subscribers; and
    • Designated Officers may access and change the user settings for their Subscribing Authority.

    In addition, where you have not withdrawn your consent to this in the "My Profile" page we may use your personal information:

    • to contact you from time to time, in order to ask for your views on esd and/or any of the Content and to notify you occasionally about important changes or developments to esd;
    • for Subscribers to access and search the Network of Local Government Practitioners;

    IMPORTANT: Your email address usually contains personal information about you such as your name and where you work. This may appear from time to time on esd in areas accessible only by Network Members and Subscribers. For example when you first register, when you are participating in a Discussion Forum or in the Network of Local Government Practitioners.

    An exception to the above are any system-based email messages requested, such as password reminders and messages sent from some reports.

    We may use information provided by you (such as what you think about esd and improvements that you would like to see made) or statistical information collected, so that we can improve our service to you or make your visits to esd more rewarding.

  7. Personal information we provide to Local Authorities

    Local authorities may have access to a list of all users from their own authority. Information is only passed on to third parties if permission is given in My Profile. The only exception to this is where we are legally obliged to provide the information.

    Upon the request of a Local Authority we may, from time to time, provide them with a list of their Users.

    Except in very specific circumstances, we do not disclose any of your information to other parties, except where you have given your consent in the "My Profile" section of esd.

    Otherwise, we reserve the right to give your personal information to a third party without your consent where:

    • the disclosure is required by law, such as where there is a court order, or statutory obligation requiring us to make such a disclosure; and/or
    • we believe that such disclosure is necessary in order to assist in the prevention or detection of any criminal action (including fraud) or is otherwise in the overriding public interest, and is permitted by law.
  8. The Network of Local Government Practitioners

    The Network of Local Government Practitioners is a search facility accessible by all Subscribers, which can be filtered by options selected in profiles.

    The Network of Local Government Practitioners is a search facility accessible by all Subscribers to search for peers, advisers and other practitioners in the local government community, based upon enhanced search criteria (the "Search Facility").

    This Search Facility will search through the fields contained in Subscribers', Network Members' and Forum Users' Records in the "My Profile" section of esd. For example:

    • specification of interest areas based upon Discussion Forums enrolled on;
    • skills and experience drawn from a list of Gershon local government service areas;
    • areas of expertise based upon association with any of the 700+ local government services set out in the full services list held on esd; and
    • additional comments entered.

    The above information is all provided at your option.

    A successful search will produce one or more links to profiles of relevant Subscribers, Network Members or Forum Users. These profiles will include information from such person's Record contained in the "My Profile" section of esd.

    Subscribers' use of the Search Facility must at all times comply with the User Policy, and in particular is subject to strict adherence with a number of rules set out in paragraph 10 of the User Policy.

    IMPORTANT: Please note that we may update the "My Profile" section of esd which may alter or add to the fields available for the Search Facility. However Subscribers, Network Members and Forum Users are free to control whether specific information about them is included in the Search Facility, by removing such details from their "My Profile" section. Alternatively such persons can opt-out of the Search Facility altogether by ticking the appropriate box in the "My Profile" section.

  9. How we protect your personal information

    We try as hard as possible to keep your data safe and secure. However, we can guarantee the security of any information transmitted to us.

    We are strongly committed to data security and we take reasonable and appropriate steps to protect your personal information from unauthorised access, loss, misuse, alteration or corruption. We have put in place physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information you provide to us.

    These steps include communicating this Privacy Policy to our employees and relevant contractors. Only authorised employees and contractors under strict controls will have access to your personal information.

    However, while we strive to protect your personal information, due to the nature of the internet we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us. With this in mind, we urge you to take every precaution to protect your personal information while you are on the internet.

  10. How long we keep your personal information

    We will keep your data. After 2 years of disuse, accounts will be marked as inactive, and after 7 years of disuse the account will be deleted, unless legal reasons stop us.

    We will keep and use the personal information contained in your Record for as long as you are registered as a Network Member, Subscriber or Forum User, and for at least 7 years afterwards, in order to deal with any consequent queries or complaints you may have.

    If you cease to access esd for over 2 years then we shall mark your Record as "gone away" and inactivate your registration. If you wish to use esd after such period has elapsed then you may need to re-register with us.

    If you cease to access esd for over 7 years then your Record will be expunged from our systems, unless there is a specific legal reason or requirement to keep the information for longer, for example if it is relevant to any current or potential legal proceedings.

    Any references to you in any current esd records, forum posts, and any statistical or anonymised information (from which you cannot be identified) may be kept for longer periods.

  11. Updating your personal information

    You can access any information we hold about you, but we may charge £10 to provide this data.
    You are entitled to see the information held about you and to amend or update any inaccuracies in your personal information. Please note that we are entitled to charge a £10 fee for providing you with access to your personal information. If you would like to review or update your personal information please Contact Us.
  12. Liability

    You also need to read the User Policy
    Please read carefully the paragraphs entitled Disclaimers, Our Liability and Your Liability in the User Policy, as they also apply to this Privacy Policy.
  13. Privacy Policy updated

    The Privacy Policy was updated on 25 May 2012
    This Privacy Policy was last updated on 25 May 2012