Government will review plans to register staff and volunteers with the Independent Safeguarding Authority
The vetting and barring scheme, under which staff and volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults would have to register to be checked by the Independent Safeguarding Authority, has been halted and will be remodelled, the Home Office has announced.
Under the scheme, which was introduced by the Labour government, people working or volunteering for charities and community groups would have their details placed on a child protection database once they had been approved by the ISA.
Volunteering groups had expressed fears that individuals carrying out activities such as regularly driving other people's children to sports clubs could be required to register, although a subsequent ISA report said this would not be necessary.
Voluntary registration was due to begin on 26 July. But the government will tell charities, voluntary groups and education authorities that a new system will be put in place.
An announcement from the Home Office, which promoted the proposal under the Labour government, said it would "remodel the scheme back to proportionate, common-sense levels".
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said in a statement: "Vulnerable groups must be properly protected in a way that is proportionate and sensible.
"It is vital that we take a measured approach in these matters. We've listened to the criticisms and will respond with a scheme that has been fundamentally remodelled."
The scheme was designed to prevent people who posed a known risk to children and vulnerable adults from gaining access to them through their work or volunteering. But charities and voluntary groups warned that it could create a climate of suspicion and put people off volunteering.
Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnardo's, said: "This will be a popular move, but the government would be rash to dilute the scheme dramatically.
"The scheme has the potential to restore parental confidence in the safety of children, and that is paramount. A robust system is needed to ensure effective barriers are in place to prevent people from negotiating themselves into positions of trust in order to sexually abuse children."
Fiona Dawe, chief executive of youth volunteering charity YouthNet, welcomed the news.
"While the protection of children and young people is of utmost importance, this needs to be balanced with fair access to volunteering for all members of the public," she said.
Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, said: "Although we welcome a more centralised scheme for child protection checks, we believe the scheme can be streamlined much further, reducing the unnecessary bureaucracy for volunteers."