The BBC has agreed to fund 150 new ‘local democracy reporters’ to cover council meetings and report on public services.
The partnership with the News Media Association aims to increase the coverage of public institutions and hold local councils to account.
A phased implementation of reporters will start this summer on a region by region basis, completing in 2018.
The plans - which will cost £8m a year and also include a News Bank and Data Journalism Hub - will be funded from the licence fee.
Ashley Highfield, chairman of the NMA, said: ‘This groundbreaking partnership will enhance democracy at a local level by increasing and strengthening coverage of local authorities and public services, while maintaining the healthy competition between different news sources.’