The launch of ContactPoint, a database that will contain details of every child in the country, has been delayed because of technical problems.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families awarded the contract to Capgemini in July 2007. It is the project's second delay, after the launch date was moved from April to October. It will now be delayed for another three months.
Children's minister Kevin Brennan said the database will now go live in January next year.
He said in a letter to the chair of the children, schools and families select committee, "We have identified some issues as a result of recent system tests which we are working urgently to address.
"We are committed to ensuring ContactPoint goes through rigorous testing and it is the function of testing to identify issues with systems before they are deployed to users.
"More work needed to be done before embarking on the final phases of testing, which includes testing with users. I have therefore taken a decision today to postpone deployment until January 2009 to allow sufficient time to continue to test the system."
Privacy campaigners have raised concerns about the database after the government announced that charity Barnado's and the police would both have access.