The deadline for applications for beacon council status is tomorrow. The DETR refused to estimate how many would apply, anticipating that many would submit their forms at the last minute.
Network director John Sellgren said he hoped the government would widen the range of services included in the beacon council scheme in future years.
'There are a number of areas which are high on the government's agenda - such as lifelong learning, integrated transport, public health and social exclusion - which do not feature in the scheme and which we will be urging the minister to include in the beacon council programme in future years,' he said.
In the first year, around 40 councils will be awarded beacon status.
This year, councils may apply for beacon status in up to three of seven service areas.
Ministers will select beacon councils on the basis of advice from an independent advisory panel which includes the LGA.
Service areas for beacon status:
Community safety: preventing local shopping and town centre crime and disorder
Education: helping to raise standards by tackling school failure
Housing: improving housing maintenance
Modernising planning: streamlining the planning process for business
Modern service delivery: improving the housing and council tax benefit administration
Social services: helping care leavers
Sustainable development: dealing with waste.