The Citizen's Charter Unit in the Cabinet Office has written to councils which have shown commitment to old age policy initiatives, inviting proposals for around 25 pilots to be launched in April.
Councils which successfully lodged best value pilot bids for old age services have been excluded from the list, but proposals from any interested councils will be looked at, the unit says.
The thrust of the pilot guidelines is integrated service provision in partnership with other organisations. This ties in closely with the government's white paper on health published last month, signalling a formal role for councils in administering health authorities.
It wants an audit of resources each agency can contribute, showing where current control over resources lies 'and what decisions and actions by whom would be necessary to commit those resources to the inter-agency strategy'.
Dubbed 'Better government for older people', the pilots aim to give the aged better access to services and information, more input into services and better links between agencies.
Cabinet Office project manager Liz Lawrence said the invited councils were chosen in collaboration with the local government associations. Councils were picked which 'can get up and going quickly . . . there will have to be a lot of talking locally now', she said.
Association of Directors of Social Services president Roy Taylor said there was already much collaboration but the initiative gave it a new focus and brought in other agencies.
It was positive that older people were placed at the fore but the tight timescale gave councils little time to design their proposals, he said.
Proposals must be submitted by 13 February, with pilots chosen by 5 March.
The programme is being overseen by a steering committee comprised of the Citizen's Charter Unit, Warwick University Local Authorities Research Consortium, Age Concern, Anchor Trust and the Carnegie Third Age Programme.
Those invited to bid:
City of Bradford MDC
Brighton and Hove Council
Coventry City Council
Derby City Council
Isle of Wight Council
Leeds City Council
Leicester City Council
Hammersmith and Fulham LBC
Manchester City Council
Newcastle Upon Tyne City Council
North Tyneside BC
North Yorkshire CC
Nottingham City Council
Portsmouth City Council
Reigate and Banstead BC
Salford City Council
Sheffield City Council*
St Albans DC
The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames
Wolverhampton MBC *
City of York
City & County of Swansea
Conwy County BC
Isle of Anglesey CC
Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC
Department of the Environment**
Department of Health and Social Services **
North Down BC
Dumfries and Galloway Council
East Dunbartonshire Council
City of Edinburgh Council
Scottish Borders Council
South Lanarkshire Council
Note * Shortlisted for selected exemption from CCT as part of best value.** Potential pilots to be approached through Northern Ireland departments.