Inequalities in childhood obesity, teenage pregnancy rates and protecting children are some of the most important challenges for public services, according to a report.
Councils, the NHS, police, business and volunteer groups should work more closely together to provide value for money, said the Oneplace report, whose authors studied assessments by six inspectorates.
The first wide-ranging overview of local services in England – and their use of £200bn of public money – found some areas were "patchy" and "struggling to improve on several fronts".
Children's services were particularly vulnerable, with six areas failing to properly safeguard youngsters, and there were persistent inequalities between regional health services.
The Oneplace report was drawn from Comprehensive Area Assessment findings carried out by the Audit Commission, the Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation and Ofsted.
It said there should be a "greater focus on achieving better value for money", although overall the performance of local services was "broadly one of improvement".
Michael O'Higgins, the chairman of the Audit Commission, said: "Oneplace highlights examples of really imaginative solutions to serious problems that other parts of the country should steal or adapt."