The first five mental health trusts to get the go-ahead to apply for foundation status have been announced.
Gloucestershire Partnership, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare, Oxleas, South Essex Partnership and South Staffordshire Healthcare are among the 18 approved trusts in the latest wave of applicants.
Foundation trusts have more autonomy than other trusts and Oxleas chief executive Stephen Firn said the status, if granted, would allow the organisation to involve the local community more in running services.
But Mental Health Foundation chief executive Andrew McCulloch was concerned that the policy of creating powerful foundation trusts did not fit with the aim of encouraging more local voluntary providers.
Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, will decide which trusts receive final authorisation later this year.