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Our privacy policy

Arthritis Research UK is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and personal information. This policy (together with our terms of use and our cookies policy) sets out the basis on which any personal information we collect about you, or that you provide to us, will be processed by us.

Please read the following carefully to understand our views and practices regarding your personal information and how we will treat it, and your options to tell us what you would like us to do with your personal information.

Any questions regarding this policy should be addressed to the supporter care team, details at the bottom of this page.

By using our site or any of our services or providing us with any personal information you are accepting and consenting to your personal information being used as described in this policy.

Who we are

We are Arthritis Research UK, registered charity number 207711 in England and Wales and SC041156 in Scotland. We invest in breakthrough treatments, the best information and vital support for everyone affected by arthritis. We are a registered company in England and Wales number 490500 and our registered address is Copeman House, St Marys Court, Chesterfield S41 7TD. 

Arthritis Research UK Trading Limited is a registered company in England and Wales number 891517 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arthritis Research UK which trades on our behalf. In this policy, “we” means both Arthritis Research UK and our subsidiary.

Information we collect from you

We will collect and process the following data about you:

Information you give us

This is information about you that you give us by filling in forms on our site (“our site”) or by contacting the helpline or otherwise corresponding with us by phone, e-mail or otherwise. It includes information you provide when you register to use our site, place an order on our site, make a donation to us, participate in a discussion with the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, enter a competition, promotion or survey, take part in our campaign activity, and when you report a problem with our site. The information you give us may include your name, address, e-mail address and phone number, financial, banking and credit card information, as well as sensitive personal data where you volunteer this (see below).

Arthritis Virtual Assistant

We will collect and process all the information that you give us, as well as the responses given by the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. This may include sensitive personal data where you volunteer this information (see below). 

Information we collect about you

We collect information about the services you use and how you use them, like when you visit our websites or view and interact with our adverts and content, download or order our products. We may also combine your data to develop your profile and store the results. We are able to confirm what browser you are using, IP address and computer operating systems that are being used and this information may be used to improve the services we offer.

Information we receive from other sources

This can include information such as your name, postal address, email address, phone number, your geographic location, credit/debit card details and whether you are a tax payer so that we can claim Gift Aid, where we receive it via third parties with valid consents. We may also access publicly-available information about you in order to refine our assessment of your profile. We may also store the results of analysis performed by third parties operating on our behalf.

Website users

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to ensure that our site works well and to monitor how people use it. We use this information to provide the services and content that you want and to improve the way that our site works. Where possible we use aggregated or anonymous information which does not identify individual visitors. In addition, if you register on our website:

  • You will no longer be anonymous when you log in and browse our site, and you will remain logged in for 20 minutes from when you last access a page, or until you log out;
  • We collect and retain information about your shopping cart and transactions with us so that we can process these and deal with future queries. We also collect and store your favourite content, if you want to, so that you can quickly access it again.

Debit and credit card information

If you use a debit or credit card to donate to us or buy something online or over the phone, we will ensure that this is done securely in line with the PCI DSS standards  by us or our contracted suppliers. All credit and debit card details are securely destroyed once the payment or donation has been processed.

Sensitive personal data

A full definition of this is available on the Information Commissioners website  but this is most likely to be information relating to your health or a medical condition.When you contact the helpline or the Arthritis Virtual Assistant it is likely we will require such information so we can provide an accurate response. In these cases, we will record calls for training and quality purposes, and will delete these records after 7 months. We will also give you the option to have the information stored for future records and for statistical analysis. If you contact the helpline by email or post then any data you provide will be processed and recorded automatically but you can request its removal from our records.

We do not normally collect or process “sensitive personal data” for other purposes without a clear reason for doing so and you are informed and consent to this at the time. You do not need to provide us with information relating to your health to access our services or content, but if you do then we cannot automatically remove this from our records so we may collect and store it but only as part of providing that service or content to you and thereafter for our internal records. You may request we remove sensitive data by contacting the supporter care team, details at the bottom of this page.

Cookies and tracking technologies

Our website uses cookies to distinguish you from other users of our website. This helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site. In addition, we and our service providers use technology such as pixel tags and web beacons to track and improve your user experience on our site and to monitor the effectiveness of campaigns and digital marketing activities. 

For detailed information on the cookies and tracking technologies we use and the purposes for which we use them see our cookies policy.

How we may use your information

We use information held about you in the following ways:

  • to respond to contact requests through the helpline, providing information and advice to help you live with arthritis every day
  • to provide you with the content, products and services that you request from us, including to fulfil and sales contracts you have entered into
  • to provide you with information about other content, products and services we offer that may be suitable for you, where you have consented to be contacted
  • to provide you with important updates to any content, products and services that you have received from us, even where you have not consented to be contacted
  • to process donations from you
  • to fundraise and to send you marketing materials (see below)
  • to invite you to participate in surveys and research activity
  • to invite you to take part in our campaigning activity (e.g. to contact your local MP about an important issue)
  • to keep records of contacts for future reference if you contact us again
  • for internal record keeping, including the management of any feedback or complaints
  • for administration in connection with any of the other purposes detailed (e.g. about a donation you have made)
  • to allow you to participate in interactive features of our service, when you choose to do so (e.g. the Arthritis Virtual Assistant)
  • to develop a profile that will improve the effectiveness and relevance of our communications and contact with you
  • to determine what other content, products and services may be suitable for you and other users and to personalise our site and content for you
  • to analyse the personal information we hold about you and include publicly available information to create a profile of your interests, preferences and ability to make donations so that we can tailor our communications with you to contact you with the most relevant information in the most appropriate way
  • to administer our site and for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research, statistical and survey purposes
  • to measure or understand the effectiveness of advertising we serve to you and others, and to deliver relevant advertising to you
  • to evaluate the effectiveness of our services
  • to record telephone conversations for training and quality assurance
  • to identify your approximate location, to block disruptive or unauthorised use, to record or limit traffic, and improve our site to ensure that content is presented in the most effective manner for you and for your computer 
  • where it is required or authorised by law or for fraud prevention or anti-money laundering purposes or safeguarding purposes.
  • where appropriate, to process grants and payments to research organisations and suppliers
  • where appropriate, to manage records of and make payments to current and past employees
  • where appropriate, to facilitate recruitment of new staff

Marketing materials

We only want to contact people who want to hear from us in the ways that they want to hear from us. If you have given us your consent to contact you by email, telephone and text message, we may contact you, for marketing purposes by using that channel. If you subscribe to our regular emails or online magazine, you also allow us to email you other marketing and advertising materials. We may also contact you by email or telephone or text message for service delivery purposes (e.g. where you place an order on our site or where you make a donation).

If you have provided us with your postal address then we may send you direct mail for fundraising, campaigning or research unless you have told us that you would prefer not to hear from us in this way.

You control what we contact you about and by what method. You can opt-out from receiving email marketing using the “unsubscribe” link on all of our marketing emails. You have the right to ask us not to process your personal information for marketing purposes and you can change any of your contact preferences at any time, including telling us that you do not want us to contact you in future. To do this, or to talk to us about your options, please contact our supporter care team, the details at the bottom of this page.

We will not use your information for marketing purposes if you have told us not to. However, we will retain your details on a suppression list to help ensure that we do not continue to contact you in future. Alternatively you may request we remove your data completely, although this may lead to our contacting you in future if we receive a valid consent to do so via other means.

Arthritis Virtual Assistant

Background and processing

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant is our interactive advisor which utilises the IBM Watson Cognitive Computing platform to answer your questions. It will use the information you give it to answer your questions and learn how to better answer questions in the future. IBM has a privacy policy available at 

Transfer out of the EEA and further processing

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant does not need your personal information and will only ask for your name. The Arthritis Virtual Assistant will not treat your conversations as personal data and you must not provide the Arthritis Virtual Assistant with any other personal information which may be used to identify you, for example your address, NHS number, bank details etc. Any information which you tell the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, including and personal information or sensitive personal information, will be transferred to the IBM Watson platform based in the United States of America (USA).

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant will store the information you give it in the USA for up to 30 days. It will also transfer all conversations to our servers located in the United Kingdom so that we can analyse the conversations and enable it to give better answers. We will store this information for up to 12 months.

Your consent

By using the Arthritis Virtual Assistant you understand that this information will be available to us and if you provide personal information or sensitive personal data you consent to us collecting storing and processing this as described in this section, including transferring this outside of the EEA.

Additional support

At the end of the conversation with the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you may have the option to provide us with personal information so that we can link your conversation to your profile. We will ask to do this only so that we can follow up your conversation and provide you with a better service overall. We will only create this link if you tell us that we can.

This link will only take place on our servers based in the United Kingdom. Your personal information and sensitive personal data will be stored securely in line with the rest of this privacy policy.

Arthritis Research UK Helpline

Your consent

By contacting the helpline and providing us with personal and sensitive data you understand that this information will be available to us and you consent to us collecting storing and processing this as described in this section.

Sharing with BUPA

The helpline team may pass your information to BUPA so their specialist clinicians can help us assess your query. We will inform you when we consult with BUPA clinicians. Where information, including sensitive data is passed to BUPA, they will store it for a period of 7 years, with limited access only to clinicians and appropriate persons. Read our BUPA privacy policy.

Sharing or disclosing your information

We may share your personal information with our trading subsidiaries, suppliers or service providers to provide the products or services you have requested from us.

We may share your information externally with our data processors. This includes our trusted partners that work with us to achieve our charitable purposes, and other entities that act as fundraisers for us, sell our products services or provide our content and marketing (subject to your communication preferences). We have contracts with all our data processors and require them to comply strictly with our instructions and data protection laws and we regularly monitor their activities to ensure they are complying with our policies and procedures. Some data we hold may be stored in the cloud, on Microsoft servers. You can read more about how Microsoft work to keep data secure here.

We will never share, sell or swap your details with any third parties for the purposes of their own marketing or to make money from your personal information.

We may disclose your personal information if we are under a duty to disclose your personal information in order to comply with any legal obligation (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies), or in order to enforce or apply our rights (including in relation to our website or other applicable terms and conditions) or to protect Arthritis Research UK.

Where we store your personal information

Your personal information may be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area ("EEA") and may be processed by staff operating outside the EEA who work for us or for one of our suppliers. We will ensure that your information is held in compliance with the European data protection regulations. By giving us personal information, you agree to this transfer, storing or processing. We will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this privacy policy.

The transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use appropriate procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

How long we store your personal information

We keep records for as long as is required in accordance with legal requirements and tax and accounting rules. We retain contact details for marketing and suppression purposes until a request is made to remove information. We may also keep internal records of any contact with you indefinitely. You can request we delete or dispose of records (subject to legal and accounting requirements) by contacting Supporter Care (details below). Where your information is no longer required, we will ensure that it is disposed of in a secure manner. For example, if you send us information in paper format, we may scan this and securely destroy the paper copy.

Your information rights

You can edit your account information, including your address and contact details at any time through your account on our site, and you are requested to keep this information up-to-date. If you would like to change your preferences or update the details we hold about you other than online, please contact our supporter care team, details below.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a right to request a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to have any inaccuracies corrected. Please address requests to the supporter care team, details below. Please provide as much information as possible about the nature of your contact with us to help us locate your records. We may require you to prove your identity and reserve the right to charge a fee of £10 for this process.

Changes to our privacy policy

Any changes we make to our privacy policy in the future will be posted on this page and, where appropriate, notified to you by e-mail. Please check back frequently to see any updates or changes to our privacy policy.


For all questions regarding this privacy policy or to change your contact preferences please speak to our supporter care team:

  • by mail to: Supporter Care, Arthritis Research UK, Copeman House, St Mary’s Court, St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield S41 7TD
  • by email to:
  • by phone on: 0300 790 040.
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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.