An IDeA report on the first year of peer group reviews of councils across the country, which is due to be published in two weeks, covers the first 44 reviews of councils.
Areas covered included leadership, democratic and community engagement and performance management.
Bill Murphy, head of the IDeA's local government improvement programme, said: 'Partnership working in local government is thriving - there's some really exciting stuff going on. In areas like consultation and community engagement people are learning and are open to reviewing.
However, the report also highlights areas where attention is needed - on political structures, for example.
Mr Murphy said: 'Eight months ago people were having really interesting discussions about new political structures. But legislation is shifting that - so people have to think about the legislative process they have to undergo. Again, our message to central government is that there is a danger of swamping councils with regulation.'