The Department for Education and Employment has invited every UK local authority to a meeting next month with DFEE-
approved private consultants and service providers.
Ministers hope that the two-day conference, at a Heathrow hotel, will lead to new "partnerships", as even successful local authorities consider private-sector invlvement in their services.
The department is putting pound;1.5 million into five pilot schemes to look at "radical new" ways of providing services to schools.
Graham Lane, education chair of the Local Government Association, said: "The DFEE talks endlessly about the benefits of 'outsourcing'. But there's no evidence that it (is)... raising standards."
Ministers have called for authorities to consider external contractors to deliver services.