English regions are to get "quality of life" reports on health, education, social care, housing and policing.
The joint reports will cover services like schools, hospital and police
Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAA) - sharing information gathered by various government watchdogs - are described as an "annual snapshot of life".
They will replace comprehensive performance assessments, which focus solely on individual councils.
Pilot schemes are to take place in Tees Valley, Hampshire, Thurrock and Barking and Dagenham.
Steve Bundred, chief executive of the Audit Commission, which oversees public spending, told the BBC the CAA findings could be used to compile league tables of areas.
He said: "It's about people and places. It's a much more ambitious approach to the assessment of the things that local people actually care about.
"It will be a catalyst for further improvement in the quality of life and the experience of local service users.
"It will do that by providing an independent view of whether people are getting value for money in their local services."
The assessment is intended to be more "forward-looking" than currently and to identify "barriers" to improvement.
Consultation on how best to run the CAA will last until 15 February, with the first nationwide results expected to be published in October 2009.
The bodies taking part will be: the Audit Commission; the Commission for Social Care Inspection; the Healthcare Commission; HM Inspectorate of Constabulary; HM Inspectorate of Prisons; HM Inspectorate of Probation; Ofsted.