Families will increasingly view social workers as agents of state control if proposed guidelines on the controversial named person policy are approved, MSPs will be told today.

Some frontline workers now view the plans as "toxic" and believe they should be scrapped, according to the Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW).

In evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee, the association's manager Trisha Hall warned that new guidelines aimed at addressing concerns about information sharing are ambiguous and will result in named persons referring more cases to social work on a "better safe than sorry" principle.

As a result, many families contact with social workers will start with them under investigation. SASW says its members fear being “regarded as agents of state surveillance or control, as opposed to a service to support and protect”.

The association also says the proposals have left social workers uncertain about their own role, with many "confused and even worried about the action they should take”.

In written evidence, Ms Hall said workers feared being overwhelmed, and overlooking more serious child protection cases. “Our members are concerned that an increase in referrals may lead to a bottleneck in the system and subsequent overload, and this in-turn could result in child protection referrals not receiving the attention they should get.

“Some of our members have strongly suggested this bill has become toxic and should simply be repealed.”

The Supreme Court last year said the law on named persons - part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) act - was unlawful because it risked breaching the rights of children and families in relation to the sharing of private information. The Scottish Government's proposed guidelines, intended to "fix" the policy, have been criticised by experts, including the Faculty of Advocates and the charity Clan Childlaw.

Last week, the Law Society said practitioners of named person would need lawyers “on speed dial” in relation to confusion over information sharing.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called for the policy to be scrapped.

Shadow education secretary Liz Smith said: “The SNP thinks it is protecting young people by imposing a named person on every child, when in fact it risks making things worse.

“Social workers are understandably concerned about their workload, their reputation and above all their ability to protect those who need help the most. That’s why the nationalists should swallow their pride and scrap named person proposals altogether.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “These proposals have widespread support among stakeholders and children’s welfare organisations, and we are confident that the Bill fully addresses the issues raised by the UK Supreme Court.

“The Getting it right for every child approach has been found to reduce caseloads for social workers because support was given before problems turned into crises.

“The Named Person Service will ensure that the needs of children and young people are placed at the centre by ensuring services work together in the best interests of children and young people, by supporting families in nurturing their children and by offering them the right help at the right time from the right people.”