The move, against a backdrop of proposals to raise the education and training leaving age to 18, is designed to better match courses and training with needs at colleges and sixth forms.
It will also spell the demise of the Learning & Skills Council (LSC), and the introduction of a streamlined Skills Funding Agency to support courses for over-18s.
As part of the proposals, authorities will work with neighbouring councils through a range of possible models to commission courses and training, under the eye of a new Young People’s Learning Agency.
Launching the plans, schools minister Jim Knight said they were the “last piece of the jigsaw” for the government’s education strategy.
John Freeman, joint president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said authorities welcomed the chance to regain control of post-16 education budgets.
“The challenge for us in all of this is to do the sub-regional work so that we join things up through local authority boundaries,” he said.