Youth councils, youth advisory committees and youth parliaments are different names for youth participatory structures that are usually associated with:
Youth councils are participatory structures that represent young people and advocate on their behalf. They are often established in an advisory capacity, meaning that their primary task is to provide advice to a level of government, a government institution or other body, such as a company or an organisation. Youth councils can be universal (meaning that all young people within a certain age range can apply to become a member) or targeted (youth councils that represent the interest of a specific group of young people, e.g. ethnic or sexual minorities).
The practice of determining the membership of a youth council varies greatly. There can be an election process, where eligible young people can run as a candidate and/or vote for their representative. For example, local level youth councils can have various eligibility criteria, such as having to live or study at a municipality and being of a certain age.
This process often replicates the election process of ‘adult’ local councils.
Another commonly used option for determining membership for a youth council is through a process of nomination. Most commonly, schools or youth organisations (or both) nominate a certain number of representatives to the youth council.
Sometimes there is no democratic process set up for a youth council and either everyone who meets the predetermined eligibility criteria is eligible to join or an expression of interest needs to be submitted, after which a youth worker, public servant or a committee reviews and makes a decision about the applicant.