Privacy and Cookie Policy

This Privacy Policy applies only to information collected through our website. By using our website, you are consenting to this policy. Our Privacy Notice concerns information collected offline.

The Church of Scotland takes a proactive approach to user privacy and aims to protect the privacy of its users throughout their visit and to comply with all UK laws and requirements for user privacy. This policy aims to set out the various areas where user privacy is concerned and outlines the obligations and requirements of visitors and the website. This includes the way this website processes, stores and protects user data and information.

Such information may be used in a number of ways to help improve our website and make it a better experience. Some examples may include:

  • Providing a more personalise experience for each user
  • Sending periodic emails using subscription services (for example, newsletters)
  • Administering a competition, survey or other website feature
  • Allowing users to register on our website, or when filling out a form (for example, when contacting us you may be asked for your name and email address)

Any user information collected is stored securely until it is no longer required or has no use, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation. Any personal information gathered is kept private and will never be passed on to third parties. Should you wish to contact us about the use of your information please contact our Law Department by emailing


What are ‘cookies’?

A cookie is a small text file which is downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website or application. Cookies typically contain two pieces of information:

  • The name of the website
  • A unique ID

Your web browser then sends these cookies back to the website or application on each subsequent visit so that they can recognise you and remember things like personalised details or user preferences. They may also be used for things such as website authentication (logging into a website), website analytics (number of site visitors, browser types etc.), saving items to a shopping cart or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data.

Types of cookies

There are two types of cookies:

  • Session cookies: These allow a website to link the actions of a visitor during a single browser session. They might be used by an internet bank or webmail service. They are not stored long term and are considered ‘less privacy intrusive’ than persistent cookies
  • Persistent cookies: These remain on the user’s device between sessions and allow one or several websites to remember details about the visitor. They may be used to avoid the user having to provide a password with each visit

Which cookies does The Church of Scotland use and why?

The Church of Scotland uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best possible experience. Our cookies are completely safe and secure and will never contain any sensitive or personal information about you. They cannot be used to identify an individual. Some features may store a cookie on your computer while using them and may not work if you do not let the browser set the cookie on your computer. By continuing to use our website we will assume that you are happy to receive all of our cookies and are consenting to their use.

The cookies used on this website have been categorised based on the categories found in the ICC UK Cookie guide. If you continue without changing your browser settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.

Strictly necessary cookies

These cookies enable services you have specifically asked for and are essential in order to enable you to move around the website and use its features. For example: accessing secure areas, shopping baskets, or remembering previous actions (e.g. entered text) when navigating back to a page in the same session cannot be provided.

Performance cookies

These cookies collect anonymous 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. Any data collected is limited to the website operator’s use only, for managing the performance and design of the site. These cookies can be third party cookies but the information must be for the exclusive use of the publisher of the website visited.

Functionality cookies

These cookies allow the website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you are in) to provide an enhanced, more personal experience. For instance, remembering a choice such as not to be asked again to fill in a questionnaire or user poll, or fulfilling a request by the user such as submitting a comment. These cookies can also be used to remember changes you have made to text size, fonts and other parts of web pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you have asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. The information these cookies collect may be anonymised and they cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.

Other third party cookies

A cookie is classed as being first party if it is set by the site being visited. However, a third party cookie is issued by a different server to that of the domain being visited. It could be used to trigger a banner advert based on the visitor’s viewing habits or for analytical purposes. For example, when visiting a page with content embedded from YouTube, Google or Facebook. These service providers may set their own cookies on your web browser. Such anonymous cookies may be set by that third party to track the success of their application or to customise their application to you. The Church of Scotland does not control the use of these cookies and cannot access them, as they can only be accessed by the party who originally set them. You should check the third party websites for more information about these cookies.

How to control your cookies

If you don’t like the idea of websites storing information on your device and find it a little intrusive, it is possible to control cookies by following the steps below. However you should be aware that you may lose some features and functionality of the website if you do so. Cookies, including those which have already been set, can be deleted from your device. Since cookies are maintained by your web browser, the method of enabling or disabling them will greatly depend on which browser you are using. In some cases, you can choose to accept cookies from the primary site, but block them from third parties.

Further information on cookies

Contact, communication and e-mail newsletters

Users contacting the Church of Scotland through this website do so at their own discretion and provide any such personal details requested at their own risk. We make every effort to ensure that any data submitted in forms on this website by users is safe and secure. This information may be required for a variety of reasons, such as to help assist us in answering any questions, queries or requests for further information submitted by the user, to create a user profile to allow them to post comments on the site, or for a subscription service such as email newsletters.

Users can subscribe to email newsletters and do so through an automated process at their own discretion. Some subscriptions may be processed manually with prior consent from the user. Email campaigns produced by this website may contain tracking facilities within the content of the email, which allows subscriber activity to be tracked and stored in a database for analytical purposes and to help improve our services and make them more relevant to the user. Users subscribing to these services are given the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time through an automated system. Instructions on how to do so can be found at the bottom of each email.

External links

Although we aim to only include quality, safe and relevant external links, third party websites have separate and independent privacy policies. Therefore, we have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these websites. Users should therefore note that they click on external links at their own risk and we cannot be held liable for any damages or implications caused by visiting any external websites that we link to. We do however, seek to protect the integrity of our website and welcome any feedback.

Social media

The Church of Scotland is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy whilst using our social media channels. We advise that users act responsibly in any activity with social media and be careful and cautious with regards to their own privacy and personal information. Activity taken through any external social media channel is custom to the privacy policies of each individual outlet.

This website uses social sharing buttons to aid users in sharing content from the website to social media channels. Users do so at their own discretion and are advised that individual social media channels may track and save such requests.This website will not ask for personal or sensitive information through social media channels.


Privacy Notice

Purpose of this Privacy Notice

This Privacy Notice covers (One) the various unincorporated Councils and Committees of the Church of Scotland which are registered as Scottish Charity No SC011353 and (two) its statutory corporations as listed below (together referred to as “the Church”). The Church recognises the importance of your privacy and this Notice sets out the way in which the Church will use, disclose and protect your personal information. This means any information that identifies you personally, such as your name, address, email address or telephone number.

The Church is the data controller, because we decide how your data are processed and for what purpose. Contact details for our Data Protection Officer are provided below.

How We Use Information to Resource Congregations

We use the information you give to us:

  • to further our charitable aim, which is the advancement of religion;
  • to run the central administration of the Church;
  • to liaise with and support Church of Scotland congregations and Presbyteries;
  • to recruit, train, support and provide a central payroll for ministers and other staff;
  • to deal with matters of government and discipline in the Church;
  • to administer the Church’s pension schemes;
  • to provide social care services;
  • to provide Safeguarding services to the Church and its congregations;
  • to manage the central finances of the Church;
  • for the fulfillment of contractual, regulatory compliance and legal obligations;
  • for the purposes of property administration;
  • to administer membership records;
  • to provide and administer housing for retired ministers and their widows and widowers;
  • to provide loan and grant funding for congregational projects;
  • for pastoral care purposes;
  • to provide you with information about news, events, and activities within the Church of Scotland;
  • to recruit, train, support and manage our employees.

Disclosure of information

The Church will only share your personal information where this is necessary for the purposes set out above. Information will not be shared with any third party outwith the Church of Scotland without your consent unless we are required or permitted to do so by law.

Basis for processing personal information

The Church processes your information in the course of its legitimate activities, with appropriate safeguards in place, as a not-for-profit body with a religious aim and on the basis that our processing relates solely to members, former members or people who have regular contact with us, and that this information is not disclosed to any third party without your consent.

We also process information where this is necessary for compliance with our legal obligations; where processing is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests and such interests are not overridden by your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms; where (in relation to the processing of personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences or related security measures in a safeguarding context) the processing meets a condition in Part 1, 2 or 3 of Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 2018; where the processing is for reasons of substantial public interest and necessary for the purpose of protecting an individual from neglect or physical, mental or emotional harm; and where you have given consent to the processing of your information for a particular purpose.

Storage and security of personal information

The Church will strive to ensure that personal information is accurate and held in a secure and confidential environment. We will keep your personal information for as long as we are obliged to keep it by law or may need it in order to respond to any questions or complaints or to show that we treated you fairly. We may also keep it for statistical purposes but if so we will only use it for that purpose. When the information is no longer needed it will be securely destroyed or permanently rendered anonymous. Further information about our data retention policy is available here.

Getting a copy of your personal information

You can request details of the personal information which the Church holds about you by contacting us using the contact details given below.

Inaccuracies and Objections

If you believe that any information the Church holds about you is incorrect or incomplete or if you do not wish your personal information to be held or used by us please let us know. Any information found to be incorrect will be corrected as quickly as possible.

You have the right to object to our use of your personal information, or to ask us to remove or stop using your personal information if there is no need for us to keep it. There may be legal or other reasons why we need to keep or use your data, but please tell us if you think that we should not be using it.

If we are processing your data on the basis of your explicit consent, you can withdraw your consent at any time. Please contact us if you want to do so.

Contact us

You can contact us by getting in touch with our Data Protection Officer, the Solicitor of the Church, Mary Macleod, at:

Unincorporated Councils and Committees of the Church

  • The Church Of Scotland Council Of Assembly
  • The Church Of Scotland Ministries Council
  • The Church Of Scotland Social Care Council (Crossreach)
  • The Church Of Scotland Assembly Arrangements Committee
  • The Church Of Scotland Central Services Committee
  • The Church Of Scotland Church And Society Council
  • The Church Of Scotland Committee On Church Art And Architecture
  • The Church Of Scotland Ecumenical Relations Committee
  • The Church Of Scotland Guild
  • The Church Of Scotland Housing & Loan Fund For Retired Ministers & Widows & Widowers Of Ministers
  • The Church Of Scotland Legal Questions Committee
  • The Church Of Scotland Pensions Department
  • The Church Of Scotland Mission And Discipleship Council
  • The Church of Scotland World Mission Council
  • The Church Of Scotland Panel On Review And Reform
  • The Church Of Scotland Priority Areas Committee
  • The Church Of Scotland Safeguarding Committee
  • The Committee On Chaplains To Her Majesty’s Forces
  • The Go For It Fund
  • The Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office
  • The Scottish Storytelling Centre
  • The Society Religion And Technology Project
  • John Knox Museum
  • Life And Work
  • Scottish Faiths Action For Refugees
  • Saint Andrew Press

The statutory corporations of the Church

  • The Church Of Scotland Investors Trust
  • The Church Of Scotland Trust
  • The Church Of Scotland General Trustees

How to complain

You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office about anything relating to the processing of your personal information by the Church. You can contact the ICO via its website or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.