Local government must be transformed to give local people far more control over neighbourhood services, according to the Local Government Secretary.
Potential changes could include giving neighbourhood committees the power to summon senior police officers and health officials for a grilling. Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government asked residents to put forward their own suggestions, as she launched a consultation last night.
She also highlighted plans announced last July to give voters powers to decide how tens of millions of pounds should be spent in their neighbourhood.
Councils will have to hold ballots or public meetings before deciding where money in a "community kitty" should be targeted.
It means people can direct cash to areas that concern them most, such as parks, curbing antisocial behaviour, targeting drug trouble spots or cleaning up litter.
Pilot projects have been set up in Birmingham, Merseyside, Lewisham, Bradford, Salford, Sunderland, Newcastle, Southampton, Nottinghamshire and St Helens.
The Birmingham scheme will provide £2 million to committees in Erdington ward.
Speaking at a regeneration conference in central London, Ms Blears unveiled plans for a new White Paper focused on empowering citizens.
Hazel Blears said: "Local Government has been transformed in recent years. But if we want to deal successfully with today's new challenges, from climate change to childhood obesity, then we must learn lessons and look at what more we can do to put more communities in control.
"Change goes deeper and lasts longer when people can take control of it - rather than having it imposed on them. There are few problems that British communities cannot solve for themselves - if only their talent and ingenuity can be unleashed."
The consultation was backed by Northfield MP Richard Burden (Lab).
He said: "It sounds very positive, as people do feel that services are very remote. One of the lessons that we learned following the closure of MG Rover and the work that was done to support the community was that if you empower people then you get better results."
Ladywood MP Clare Short was also calling for reform as she backed proposals for a "citizens convention" to discuss changes to the way Government works.
The convention would be a meeting of people from all sections of society to discuss constitutional reform.
Ms Short (Ind Ladywood) said: "Democracy is in crisis and bold and brave steps need to be taken to fix it."