After months of government advisers scrutinising education development plans from the country's 150 LEAs, a number are to be told their schemes are not up to scratch and improvements will be required over the next 12 months.
However, David Blunkett, the education and employment secretary, cannot refuse to approve plans by even the worst performers because local authorities not given the go-ahead would have to cease funding key services from the beginning of April.
In his letter to Hackney LBC, Mr Blunkett says it education development plan will be approved 'in order that the local education authority can continue to incur expenditure on school improvement'.
Other councils are not expected to get the full Hackney treatment, but those identified as having drawn up inadequate plans may have to demonstrate they can in fact improve services to schools within 12 months. Councils with poor test and exam results, such as the City of Nottingham, are expecting their plan to be reviewed within a year.
Most councils will be told their plans have been approved for three years. Government advisers have been informally putting local authorities into four classes, ranging from a minority that can be confidently left to get on with the job to those that have serious deficiencies.
The announcement will give the first indication of how prepared the government is to tell councils that their services may be offered to outside contractors.