Essex CC has officially submitted plans to use the Sustainable Communities Act to seize powers from unelected quangos.
The proposals will be given to the Local Government Association which will shortlist proposals from councils nationwide and pass a shortlist of frontrunners to the communities secretary for approval.
Essex leader Lord Hanningfield (Con) said: “These proposals represent another step in allowing the people of Essex a greater say in local service delivery andlocal democracy.
“We are also keen to increase scrutiny in public services and to drive up the involvement of local residents and their communities. “
Under the plan, Essex would negotiate and enforce a set of local performance standards for selected government agencies and non-departmental public bodies.
It could also use local or European election dates to hold referendums on local issues.
Essex would also gain joint responsibility for commissioning non-emergency patient transport services alongside primary care trusts.
It would set eligibility criteria and payment rates for all working-age benefits in the county.