Local authorities immediately attacked environment minister Sir Paul Beresford's white-collar CCT regulations as unworkable and complicated.
But in senior local government circles there is the private recognition that Tuesday's announcement was not as catastrophic as it might have been. Some sources even suggest it was a case of mission accomplished.
Local government did manage to win some concessions. Counties have been set a lower competition target for finance because they do not perform benefits work. Proposals to effectively abolish housing management de minimis by aiming for a level of 500 properties before the end of the century were thrown out. The timetables for finance and housing management were eased in response to council concerns.
The associations will examine Tuesday's announcement closely for anything which could hint at a trip to the High Court. But to a large extent they have accomplished their limited objectives, given that Sir Paul was never going to tear up his proposals entirely.
The delaying tactics will have been in vain, however, unless Labour delivers - first by winning the next election and then by quickly honouring its pledge to scrap CCT.
Shadow local government minister Hilary Armstrong this week made clear that Labour is determined to consign compulsion to the dustbin. She told LGC: 'It is certainly not our intention to follow the route mapped out by Sir Paul Beresford.'
But exactly when a Blair administration will be in a position to mount an assault on the regime remains open to question. Ms Armstrong said: 'I can't give local government any message now that they don't have to comply with the government's timetable. If we win [the election], we will have to consult on changes.'
The next war over CCT is set to be one of nerves.