Hawke's Bay's three largest councils have collectively spent more than a quarter of a million dollars on recruitment agencies to find new staff in the past five years.
Information obtained by Hawke's Bay Today under the Official Information Act showed Hastings District Council was the biggest spender on recruitment agencies when compared to Hawke's Bay regional and Napier city councils.
Hastings paid out $151,345 on recruitment agencies from 2008 to March 2013 while regional council spent $84,609 during the same period and Napier, $30,279.42, totalling $266,233 between the three.
Hastings council's chief executive Ross McLeod said recruitment agencies had been used on four occasions during the past five years, for a total of 12 staff positions. Hastings recruited 53 times a year, on average, and agencies were used to find 4.5 per cent of the staff needed annually.
In the breakdown, the Hastings council used Wellington recruitment agency Sheffield, to find people to fill six group manager roles and two principal advisor roles at a cost of $94,000, during March, April and May 2009.
Hawke's Bay agency Riot, now Pipe Line Recruitment, was hired to find one general manager parks and one parks operations manager, at a cost of $23,845, during June and December 2012.
Another Hawke's Bay firm, Red Consulting, was used to find one accounting manager, at a cost of $16,500 to the council, in January 2013.
Sheffield was engaged again to find one procurement specialist, at a cost of $17,000, during December 2012, February and March 2013.
Mr McLeod said the council's budget for recruitment for the 2012/13 year was $50,300 with a large portion spent on advertising vacancies.
"We budget very little for recruitment agencies, this year we budgeted $3000 of the $50,300 total, as we endeavour to cover off as much as possible in-house."
The council did on occasion use specialist services of recruitment agencies when it was trying to fill a position where it knew there were likely to be few candidates.
It would also hire an agency if it wanted a specialist or if there was a "high level" position needed to be filled where the council wanted to look nationally or overseas. It would also seek recruitment expertise in a particular areas, such as procurement.
"We aim to use local agencies but a times determine it is appropriate to engage from out of the area."
Regional council had used four agencies over the past five years. It included Auckland firm Six Degrees, now Technical Futures, was used in July and October 2010 and October 2011 at a cost of $27,237.
Pipeline Recruitment was used in December 2010 at a cost of $11,607, Australian firm Talent 2 was used in December 2011 and March 2012 at a cost of $30,082 and Wellington firm Global Career Link was used in August 201 at a cost of $15,683.
Regional council's human resources manager Viv Moule said five staff had been recruited as a result of the work completed by the agencies in the past five years.
"Recruitment agencies are only used for difficult to fill roles, such as river engineers, senior planners, groundwater scientists, or where we have had difficulty getting suitable applicants through the normal process."
Napier City Council had used external recruitment agencies three times in the past five years.
it included Auckland firm Six Degrees Consults, in September 2010 at a cost of $20,100, Talent 2 in March 2012 at a cost of $9580.50 and Napier's Boss Group in february 2012, at a cost of $598.92.
Napier's chief executive Neil taylor said three staff were employed through the agencies.