The Orchards and Margaret Marsh Joint Parish Council has five members who serve a four year term. Meetings are held quarterly in February, May, August and November, normally on the third Tuesday, except for the August meeting, which is held on the 4th Tuesday, all starting at 7.30pm. The Annual General Meeting, when the Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected, is held before the May meeting of the council and after the Annual Parish Meeting which starts at 7pm.
Agendas are posted on the four parish notice boards, and on the website, ten days before each meeting. Meetings are held at Manston Village Hall. Notice boards are located at the junction of Church Lane at Hartgrove, Vale Farm at West Orchard, next to the post box at East Orchard and opposite Church Lane junction at Margaret Marsh.
The public are invited and welcome to attend the meetings. There is a period set aside before the formal start of the meeting for members of the public to raise any concerns or ask questions. County and District Council ward members are also invited to present a report to the meeting.
The primary aim of the Parish Council is to look after the interests of the local community. The Parish Council has limited powers to make decisions but is able to lobby, negotiate with, and influence, organisations, such as the District and County Councils that make decisions on behalf of local residents.
The council also has the power to raise money through taxation, the precept. The precept is the Parish Council’s share of the council tax. The precept demand goes to the billing authority, currently North Dorset District Council, which collects the tax for the Parish Council.