Councils could be forced to merge their adoption services if they fail to work together of their own accord.
The Government has unveiled new powers to encourage councils to take a regional approach to adoption, such as joining with other authorities or outsourcing adoption functions to a single regional agency.
The powers will be enforced if councils fail to work together as regional adoption agencies within two years.
Children and families minister Edward Timpson, said: ‘By coming together and joining forces, councils can make sure more children are matched with families far quicker - regardless of where they live.’
The Government said the new measures will give councils a greater pool of approved adopters and make vital support services more widely available to adoptive families.