Council chiefs claim local negotiations enabled many essential services, such as social care, to stay open during this week’s strike over pensions.
The Local Government Association said some parts of the country, including the North East, North West and some London boroughs, were particularly badly hit by the action on Tuesday, but that local talks between council bosses and union representatives had kept services open in others.
An LGA spokesperson said councils had been pushing for unions to exempt staff from action where the closure of services could cause risk to life or limb.
However, unions said more than one million people went on strike over changes to the local government pension scheme.
Staff at the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service also took action.
Unison and other unions have promised more action in protest against the pension changes.
The government wants to remove the 85-year rule, which allows members of the local government pension scheme to retire at 60 if their age and years of service total 85.
But unions are angry that the government has allowed other public sector workers, including teachers, to retain the right.