The first wave of public service mutuals have been unveiled as the coalition pushes ahead with David Cameron's Big Society vision.
Twelve projects were selected as "trailblazers" to show how public sector workers can take more control over delivering services.
The schemes will receive mentoring help from organisations such as the John Lewis Partnership, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG.
They include one called the 157 Group, where 28 further education colleges are setting up a qualifications awarding body.
NHS employees in Leicester are forming a social enterprise to provide "joined-up" services for homeless people.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "Today's announcement is the first step in creating a genuinely ground-up movement where staff, who are the real experts, can come together to take over and deliver better services.
"I know that across the country there are literally thousands of frontline employees who can see how things can be done better, but at the moment, with the existing constraints, they just can't get it done. Now this is going to change.
"The new models will show us how we best support mutuals, tackling problems when they first arise, not expensively managing them over many years.
"This is a Big Society approach, decentralising power so people can deal with the issues that concern them.
"We must not be afraid to do things differently if we are to provide better services for less money."
The organisations that have agreed to provide mentoring for the projects are: the John Lewis Partnership, PWC, KPMG, Tribal, Baxi Partnership, Care and Share Associates, Sunderland Home Care Associates, Central Surrey Health, Local Partnerships, Godrevy, Greenwich Leisure and The Office for Public Management.