MINISTERS are under pressure to rethink controversial plans to appoint a state-appointed guardian to look after the welfare of every child in Scotland after dozens of groups raised concerns.

Many of the bodies and charities involved in the Scottish Government's Named Person scheme are unsure of their roles little more than a year before it is due to roll out across the country.

The proposals, contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, aim to give everyone under 18 a Named Person, usually a teacher or health visitor, to oversee them from August next year. He or she would be a contact point if welfare issues needed to be raised with police or social services.

However, there are major concerns among bodies including health boards, councils and the third sector. Their fears emerged in a consultation on draft guidance which is contained in an analysis by the government.

Simon Calvert, spokesman for NO2NP said it indicated a growing strength of public opinion against the proposals and the analysis had all-but ignored responses from individuals in a "shocking" attempt to spin statistics.

He added: "It looks like parents have hijacked this consultation to start a fight back against the Named Person scheme. On some questions, these individuals are almost unanimous in their disagreement with the Government. The Government analysis tries to sweep these figures under the rug but there is not getting away from it: the public do not like the Named Person."

However, the government stressed the concerns would be listened to before the Named Person is introduced.

A spokesman added: "There is no obligation on parents or children to approach their named person, but our hope is that people will feel increasingly confident about asking for support should they need it." Almost half of the organisations believed a consultation document on the Named Person plans, published in February, was unclear, according to the government paper. Many of the groups that backed were asking for clarification on certain points. Individuals that answered the consultation were overwhelmingly opposed to the compulsory scheme, with 98 per cent saying guidance on the policy was not clear. Many took the opportunity to attack the scheme.

Confusion over the remit of the Named Person was a recurring theme, with some organisations warning use of terms such as "relevant and proportionate" were open to wide interpretation.

It meant those taking on the roles could end up with "too much power". Named Persons will safeguard the "wellbeing" of children, but there was criticism that the term was not strictly defined while some said it was unclear when it was appropriate to exclude parents from decisions concerning their child. Meanwhile, more than half of organisations said they were unsure about what information about children could be shared with others and how the scheme was compatible with the Data Protection Act. "There was concern about potential breaches of privacy, and about confidentiality," the report found.

The report said repeated concerns had been expressed over workload, with being a Named Person set to become an additional burden on teachers, and others in already busy jobs.

There were further fears over what happened when the relationship between a named person, a child or family broke down, arrangements during school holidays as well as how named persons would be held to account.

"There was thought to be insufficient guidance in relation to the accountability and governance arrangements which would underpin this legislation," the consultation report added. "This was most often requested in relation to the Named Person service."

In total, 149 organisations and 133 individuals responded to the consultation. The organisations were broadly supportive of the principles of the Act while individuals, who mostly "did not engage with the consultation questions", were generally strongly opposed.

A Scottish Government spokesman said the responses to the consultation, and what new measures should be introduced to strengthen the guidance, were being considered.