The elected council are responsible for all policy decisions - including decisions on financial policy - and the manager must act in conformity with the general policy laid down by them. In carrying out his duties, the manager operates under the general supervision of the council; he is expected to have regard to their wishes and even in the conduct of day-to-day affairs he can be overruled by them . The elected members may require the manager to give them all the information in his possession or procurement on any business or transaction of the local authority. In addition, they may at any time, direct him to give them prior information about the manner in which he proposes to perform any specified executive function.
The manager must, as a matter of course, inform the council before undertaking any new works (other than maintenance or repair works) and before he commits the local authority to expenditure on them, provided of course that they are not works which the local authority is required by law to undertake. Except only in relation to the control, supervision, etc. of staff, the council, after complying with certain procedure provided by Section 4 of the 1955 Act, may direct the manager how any of his functions in relation to local government services is to be exercised in any particular case, on condition that money for the purpose has been provided and what they want can lawfully be done. This is the most important safeguard of all the council's rights.
The council may also require the manager to submit to it plans and specifications for any particular work which can lawfully be executed by the local authority, together with an estimate of the cost. A manager has the right to attend meetings of a local authority and to take part in discussions as if he were a member, but he has not the right to vote. He must, so far as is not inconsistent with the due performance of his duties, attend any meeting of a local authority or committee of a local authority whenever he is requested to do so by that body. When a manager attends a meeting, he must give the local authority or committee all the advice and assistance which could reasonably be required of him and for that purpose he must arrange for the attendance at the meeting of any local officials who may be required. A manager must also advise and assist the local authority in regard to the performance by them of their reserved functions and must carry into effect all lawful directions given by them.