The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has announced plans to close its Approved Provider Standard for mentoring schemes, saying it was unable to make the programme both rigorous and affordable.
The accreditation process, which was designed specifically for civil society mentoring and befriending projects, has been closed to new applicants, although organisations already going through the process will be able to continue.
A spokeswoman for the NCVO said no jobs would be lost as a result of the programme closure because staff would be deployed elsewhere.
The NCVO took over the quality standard, along with three members of staff, from the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation after the charity closed in 2015.
Trish Kiss, head of excellence for quality standards at the NCVO, said in a statement that the umbrella body had believed it important for the sector for the standard to continue.
"Over the last three-and-a-half years, we’ve tried really hard to make the standard something that’s both affordable for mentoring projects but also rigorously assessed in order to be valuable," she said.
"Unfortunately, despite making a number of changes, we haven’t been able to accomplish this, so we’ve taken the difficult decision to close the standard to new applicants."
Organisations already undergoing the accreditation process would be able to continue, she said, and any organisations with existing accreditation would be able to continue using it until it expired.
"While we’re not going to be continuing with the standard, we will of course be continuing to support the work of mentoring and befriending organisations in a number of other ways, including our ongoing training and regularly updated resources," Kiss said.