The care quality commission (CQC) is to begin inspecting councils after seeing its remit extended beyond the realm of evaluating care providers by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
12 councils including Oxford and Plymouth will be assessed this summer as the government prepares to determine how and where to spend the additional £2billion earmarked for social care in the 2017 budget.
Looking further ahead to next winter, Mr Hunt has also announced fines will be issued to local authorities that 'fail' to use new money to good effect in addressing bed-blocking.
Bed blocking occurs where someone remains in hospital longer than medically necessary due to delays in sourcing social care transfers.
The move is being presented as an attempt to improve communication between hospitals and local authorities and comes ahead of the CQC reporting on the state of social care nationally on Thursday.