Local community groups should have a greater role in commissioning local public services, according to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.
At a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference, called Social Enterprise and the Big Society, Maude said he wanted to "push power down beyond the local authority level".
"I hope that soon local communities will commission public services," he said. "They will be able to commission services that cater to the specific needs of the most deprived families in a local area."
Maude also said the government had been inundated with support from local groups interested in running public services as cooperatives or mutuals after the launch of the government’s pathfinder mutuals initiative in August.
Speaking at another session at the conference, civil society minister Nick Hurd said the government had been working with the charity Turning Point to develop a new commissioning model called local integrated services, in which local communities would be consulted by councils arranging public service provision.