Against a backdrop of ongoing centralisation of services and concerns over many community decisions being taken at Holyrood, senior councillors, experts and representatives of wider civic society are to set out the case for a new local government.
The commission meets for the first time this week and aims to deliver its findings by the spring, in time to attempt to influence the referendum six months later.
However, president of the body which represents all 32 local authorities and chairman of the commission, David O'Neill, has sought to play down a reorganisation and redrawing of the council map of Scotland, as well as the number of councillors.
The Cosla president said: "Everyone knows that regardless of the outcome of the referendum the status quo will not prevail in Scotland but there's been very little consideration of what this should mean for local people and local decision making.
"I think we have a duty to turn that situation around. When you speak to people in local communities, the real story is not about the internal working of Holyrood or Westminster.
"It's about the local services that communities need, and about giving people a real say about what matters to them.
"So it's not surprising that the wider debate about Scotland's future has often failed to spark the imagination because on both sides it's still hard for people to see what positive difference that could be made to real lives."
As well as Mr O'Neill, the commission will include Professor Richard Kerley of Queen Margaret University, Steven Heddle, leader of Orkney Council, Glasgow City Council's leader Gordon Matheson, Drew Hendry, SNP leader of Highland Council, STUC general secretary Graham Smith, Reform Scotland director Geoff Mawdsley and Calum Irving, chief executive of Voluntary Action Scotland.
In recent months moves by several councils have managed to bring local issues to the national agenda, with the calls for more devolution to the islands in particular seen as the game-changer.
Councillors on the Western Isles have already publicly stated their desire to move away from 21 wards to 12, with all public services being brought under one roof.
Glasgow has also argued recently for further powers to Scotland's 'city regions', while Edinburgh and the Lothians are working on future plans on everything from education, economic infrastructure and transport provision.
Although many within the SNP argue the landscape will only fundamentally change in the event of a 'Yes' vote, the Institute of Fiscal Studies recently estimated only 25% of cuts have yet come online while there has also been a hiatus on major savings decisions in Scotland until after the Referendum.
One source said: "Everyone and their dog expects change. There's a recognition within local government that it'll change by 2016. Stuff that right now will scare the horses, like universities, hospitals and council budgets and the need for change is also being discussed within the Government. So it will change."
Gordon Matheson said: "From Scotland's islands to the Borders, the idea of a revitalised local government with real power and flexibility to promote economic growth is gaining traction.
"No one size fits all and that means powers coming from both Holyrood and Westminster to local government and communities."