Enfield Council will hire a new team of social workers to keep pace with a growing demand for children’s services.

An extra £365,000 a year will fund seven more members of staff and ensure workloads are kept to a manageable level.

The investment, which was agreed by cabinet members on Wednesday (November 13), will start next year and comes on top of a £125,000 one-off cash injection this year.

Enfield’s children’s services – which include child protection, fostering and adoption – were rated ‘good’ by Ofsted following an inspection in March this year.

But inspectors found there was still some room for improvement, including a need to tackle high caseloads faced by social workers.

While extra cash announced by the council earlier this year led to “a significant practice improvement”, it has been unable to keep caseloads at a reasonable level, the cabinet report says.

Referrals to social care over a three-month period jumped from 1,882 in January this year to 2,339 in June.

Some of the increased demand for services is due to a rise in unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and a “broken” system designed to transfer them between councils, the report says.

Meanwhile, the number of children at risk of sexual exploitation has increased year on year, partly as a result of growing awareness of the problem.

Enfield spends relatively less than other local authorities on children’s services, and the council says hiring a new team and reducing workloads will encourage social workers to stay in the borough.

Cllr Rick Jewell, cabinet member for children’s services, told the meeting the council had been “struggling” to reduce caseloads, despite an earlier investment of £375,000.

He added: “We are working well, but we need extra investment to keep on track and reach the targets we have been set.”