The Hastings Youth Council has been invited to participate in district council subcommittees after it complained it was being treated as a token organisation that could be ignored.
Councillors and Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst say the move will allow them to better hear the youth voice in the district, and be challenged by it.
Chief executive Nigel Bickle put the discussion in front of the council on Tuesday, saying he was concerned at the youth council's claim it was being treated as tokenism.
At the council meeting on Tuesday, Hastings District Council moved a recommendation to appoint two youth council-elected youth councillors and one alternate to attend three council subcommittees: district development, eco district and great communities.
The youth council selected which subcommittees it wanted to sit on – ones that most aligned with its interests.
Youth Council chairwoman Sophie Jones said it was an opportunity for more of a youth voice to be heard in council and will allow them to influence things which will impact their community into the future.
"We want to be actively involved in council and policy discussions – to be given a chance for real consultation, not just a check-box."
It's a first for the council and something councillor and youth council representative Wendy Schollum says will be "of huge benefit" to the district council and wider Hastings community.
"Every decision made by council paves the way for the future of our district. What better way to ensure that this future is what our next generation wants by having them involved in the discussions, right from the outset.
"The new model will give youth councillors the opportunity to convey their aspirations and will allow councillors to consider and challenge these views, through robust, thoughtful debate.
"It is this debate that the previous youth council models have lacked, and will ensure that the youth voice is considered right from policy conception.
"This is something that the youth council written recommendations of the past simply cannot replace."
The youth council members will not be present at public excluded subcommittee meetings as they are not covered by the code of conduct.
"The purpose of this would be both to safeguard sensitive council information as well as the youth councillors themselves from being placed in potentially compromising situations," an HDC spokeswoman said.
They will be non-voting on subcommittees as "non-elected or appointed sub-committee members they do not have the same mandated responsibilities towards their constituents or communities of interests as elected and externally appointed members", she said.
At the council meeting on Tuesday Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst acknowledged the youth council's "amazing" annual plan.
"Each and every one of you are dynamic leaders, you are our Hastings future leaders.
"This is quite transformational that today we will recognise and acknowledge how important our youth voice will be in everything we do throughout our committee's our subcommittees," she said.
The appointed youth councillors will be meeting with the chairs of the subcommittees and mentored by them.