Mike Dando is a qualified town planner with over 25 years professional experience working for and with the community and voluntary sectors. Mike has particular expertise in engaging diverse individual interests and community groups in the planning system.

Mike began his career in the voluntary sector as a planning officer with a wildlife trust, working across both planning policy and development control to influence planning decisions in the interests of nature conservation. The work included representing the trust at public inquiries, and drafting planning policy on behalf of local planning authorities.

In 1991, Mike set up his own planning-based community support consultancy, specialising in project and organisational evaluation, project management, feasibility studies, community engagement, facilitation and training in relation to the planning system. Key clients included the Royal Town Planning Institute, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, English Nature and Lottery Distributors such as BIG and NOF.

Mike has spent much of the last 15 years working in various capacities for the RTPI's Planning Aid Service, most recently as Community Outreach Coordinator for Central East England. As a result, he has gained significant knowledge, skills and experience in relation to training/capacity building in planning, community involvement and consultation in development plans, and the preparation of community-led parish and neighbourhood plans. Such experience is of particular relevance in anticipation of the Government's Neighbourhood Planning agenda, which forms part of the Localism Bill