Senior police officers are meeting to discuss the controversial proposal to create a single national force.
The summit comes just weeks before the Scottish Government is expected to unveil its plan to merge the existing eight forces. The SNP administration is said to be pushing ahead with the move despite high-profile complaints from serving officers and local authorities.
A consultation on options to change the existing eight forces showed only "limited support" for the proposal.
The Government has also been accused by a senior council figure of stifling debate by not sending a representative to the conference in Edinburgh.
Pat Watters, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which is hosting the event, said: "It would be good to know their thinking around a single police force but they are not willing to engage with us on the subject.
"Will this be a tactic into the future and, if so, what does that mean for other issues?
"We would also say that it is very odd that in a country where government is supposedly closer to the people that debate is so stifled."
The agenda covers the challenges facing public services as they deal with a squeeze on budgets and the politics behind the intended reforms.
Speakers include Kevin Smith, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, Calum Steele, of the Scottish Police Federation, and Mr Watters.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said reform is vital and added: "We have already consulted widely on the case for change - including sustained dialogue with Cosla and many other stakeholders in local government, including chief executives, council leaders and board conveners.
"The Justice Secretary is travelling across the country this summer, talking to police and others about the best way forward.
"Detailed proposals on police reform will be brought before Parliament after recess."
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said: "In advance of the summit, the Scottish Government needs to heed the views of the mass of public opinion on the subject.
"The SNP must now scrap their dangerous and ill-thought-out plans for a single national police force."