Local authorities want clear definitions of their responsibilities to be agreed by Government before they are subjected to inspection by the Office for Standards in Education.
Their call comes after a proposal by Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector, for OFSTED to survey the effectiveness of LEAs.
The Society of Education Officers said it recognised the importance of external review but said assumptions about the role of the LEA had to be agreed by Government. "Government views of LEA responsibilities are at best confused. There is no clear Government framework against which inspection by a statutory body such as OFSTED could take place, "said a spokesman.
The SEO pressed for more work on the links between outside influences on schools and pupil achievement and said further development of the evidence was needed before sound judgments on LEAs could be made.
It backed the work of the Standing Conference of Chief Education Officers in developing an independent framework for LEA review, which recognised the democratic status of the LEA.
And Heather DuQuesnay, SEO president, said: "Education officers wish to co-operate in the development of rigorous and effective reviews of their work with schools.
"Both the SEO and the Standing Conference are ready to discuss in an impartial spirit the scope and purpose of the OFSTED proposals."
The SEO spokesman said that the claim by Chris Woodhead that thousands of teachers should be sacked was "impractical destructive criticism".