The basic responsibility of the Parish Council is to represent the concerns and wishes of the whole community. The range of powers available to Parish Councils, defined by law, continues to increase. Proposals announced by the Government suggest that there will be changes ahead. In May 2019 Maiden Newton had an automatically elected Council of six members and co-opted one other to total seven members. The Councillors are: Cherri Dyke, Jeremy Edwards,Sally Falkingham, Trena Fox, Alan Goff, Russell Goff and Paul Valinski. At their first meeting the councillors elected Alan Goff as Chair and Trena Fox as Vice Chair for 2019 - 2020.
All sign a Declaration of Acceptance of Office and undertake to observe an ethical Code of Conduct when dealing with matters on behalf of the community. Councillors also complete a Register of Interests, a copy of which is held by the Electoral Officer at Dorset Council.
Council meetings are presently held on the first Thursday of each month at the Communal Room, Webbers Piece, and may last up to two hours. All meetings are open to the public. The formal Council meeting follows questions from the public.
The work of the Parish Council is funded mainly by the Parish Precept. This is a small percentage of the Council Tax collected on each property by West Dorset District Council and is passed onto the Parish. The budget for 2019 - 2020 was prepared in December 2019 and the Precept was set at £31,000. Accounts are prepared for each year, checked by the internal auditor and forwarded to be audited nationally. The Parish has two outstanding loans from the Public Works Loan Board, one relating to the purchase of the Playing Field in 1998 and the other for the Play Area in 1996.
Parish Council responsibilities include providing and maintaining recreational facilities. Maiden Newton Parish Council presently own, insure and maintain
- the allotments and associated grazing land for letting
- the Play Area and the land surrounding the Village Hall, together with all the play equipment.
- the War Memorial and Millenium Stone
- the remains of the Village Cross.
- the Playing Field and the Multi Use Games Area in Chilfrome Lane
- Rock Pit Car Park in Chilfrome Lane
- the Green in Harvey's Close
- 2 bus shelters
- 5 public seats and 7 grit bins in various parts of the Village
- Noticeboard, on the wall of the Corner Stores. The site is used by courtesy of the owners. The Clerk has the keys and is responsible for keeping the information up to date.
- the Village Clock on the Old School building. The Parish pays a nominal rent to the owner of the Old School for allowing the clock to remain in its present position.
- The Old Fire House in Chapel Lane which is leased to a trust which hopes to restore the building to house and display the original fire engine which is presently stored at the Fire Station in Bull Lane.
The Council comment on planning applications but the decisions are made by Dorset Council.
Parish Councils also need representation at other local government meetings or on local bodies / organisations and Councillors may be asked to serve on certain groups or attend functions on behalf of the Parish Council.
The Parish Council does not have a permanent office nor any full-time staff. The Clerk works from home and is employed for 40 hours per month. Attendance is required at the monthly Parish Council meetings and at the annual Parish meeting, usually in April. The Council employs a Responsible Financial Officer, who also works from home, and is employed for 10 hours per month. Contractors are employed to undertake other works including grass cutting and hedge maintenance. Specifications are drawn up and quotations always sought.
Maiden Newton is a member of the Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils. Training and support is provided through the Association.