A publicity campaign designed to win over critics of the Scottish Government's named person scheme has been shelved in the wake of the trial which convicted the murderers of toddler Liam Fee.

The push to persuade parents and the public of the merits of the policy is long-awaited by supporters of named persons, who are desperate for ministers to get on the front foot about the under-fire scheme, which will see every child assigned a named contact to look out for their wellbeing.

The government argues named persons is not about state guardians or snoopers, but providing support early before things go wrong, and supporting effective child protection work. However this message has struggled to be heard over a vociferous alliance of opponents of the law.

Earlier this year, a leaked email revealed plans for a "coordinated national public information campaign" targeted at parents, children and people who work closely with them. "The objective of the campaign is to help the public, particularly parents, develop their understanding of GIRFEC and the Named Person service by equipping the people who work with them on a regular basis to engage with them and answer their questions," the email said.

The campaign was also to include a parent information pack, and was scheduled to be launched on May 30th - the day the trial of Liam's mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee and her partner Nyomi Fee would have concluded, but for a juror falling ill. Both women were subsequently convicted of murder and seven other charges, the following day.

Ministers are also believed to have been waiting for the outcome of an appeal to the supreme court against the legality of the Children and Young Person's Act 2014, which gave named persons statutory footing. Opponents of the law have repeatedly lost in their attempts to challenge its validity.

However with no sign of a ruling, the publicity push was promised to take place throughout June, and expected to have begun this week, had the Liam Fee case not put named persons back in the spotlight.

One insider said: "We were expecting the campaign imminently. The public do need improved information around named persons.

"Those in the statutory sector and the third sector have been frustrated to see a lot of the misinformation about the policy go unchallenged. The Government has to be more assertive and reassuring - and remind parents that this is about confirming existing supports rather than anything new.

"We know they have been preparing information to reassure people and clarify this, but this has to be brought out soon."

Simon Calvert of the campaign group No to Named Persons (No2NP) said it was understandable if the campaign was delayed in the circumstances, but added: “It would be interesting to see how the Government explains its named person scheme.

"But parents haven’t been impressed or persuaded by the policy so far. A lot have taken the time to read the official guidance and the legislation itself and they are not convinced. They are unlikely to be taken in by any new spin on the scheme.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “The last thing parents want to see is Scottish Government spin on this disastrous policy.

“Instead of wasting money persuading people this intrusive measure is a good idea, the SNP should be finding ways to wind it up.

“Spending fortunes on publicity would cause even more damage to the public’s confidence in the state guardian scheme.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson refused to confirm or deny that the plans had been delayed, adding: “We are consulting with stakeholders on how best to make sure that information about the policy is widely available.”

Meanwhile at a Government child protection leadership summit in Perth yesterday, deputy first minister John Swinney announced that former Procurator Fiscal and Chief Executive of the Crown Office, Catherine Dyer, will chair the independent child protection review commissioned by the govenmnet in February.

Mr Swinney said: "We will look at child protection committees, initial case reviews, significant case reviews and the child protection register to ensure that they work together to create a holistic, coherent and responsive child protection system that optimises outcomes for children."

He said of Ms Dyer: "She will bring the expertise, experience and independence this sensitive task needs.”

AT the leadership summit in Perth today, minister for Childcare and early years Mark MCDonald MSP said

“The Scottish Government is 100% behind Named Person. It’s time to tackle the absurd nonsense that is out there,” to strong applause.