Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Local people across the country should have a greater say in how police and health budgets are spent, according to a strategy published by the government.

Communities secretary Hazel Blears said “community kitties” could potentially be used to get more people involved in commissioning local community health services.

Blears, who was launching a consultation on a draft strategy for participatory budgeting, also said people should be given “direct influence” over how police cash pots to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour are spent in their area.

Participatory budgeting is a means by which communities get to vote on how public funding is spent in their areas.

The strategy sets out ways for councils in England to use participatory budgeting and meet the Government’s aim of every principal local authority taking it up by 2012.

Currently, twenty-two local authorities across the country have signed up as pilots under the Government’s drive ranging and have budgets from a few thousand to several million pounds.

Blears said: “This new strategy shows how councils can make greater use of community kitties both across the country and into the services people care about most so that every local area can benefit from this opportunity by 2012.”