The government is set to bring an order before parliament in June dealing with the proposed shake up of NI councils.
The local council shake-up was announced by Peter Hain
The order will provide for the appointment of a commissioner to decide the boundaries of new council areas.
It is expected to say the commissioner will work to the plan of seven councils announced by Peter Hain last November.
However, the commissioner will have flexibility regarding the exact borders of new council areas and the number of councillors to sit on the new bodies.
In November, Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Hain said there should be a maximum of 50 councillors in each of the new areas.
Four out of five of the local parties are opposed to the seven council model, arguing for the retention of 15 councils.
Sinn Fein backs the seven council model.
The leaders of the DUP, UUP, SDLP and Alliance oopsed it and have requested a joint meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the local government shake up.
However, they have yet to hear back from Downing Street.