Key policy and strategy decisions over the future of some of Dorset Council's buildings and land, as well as working arrangements for staff, have been put back until later in the year.

The council has already decided to divest itself of the the Princes House office block in Dorchester and the former East Dorset council offices on the edge of Wimborne.

Most of the other council buildings remain closed to the public, although several libraries are beginning to open their doors again.

The Government has pleaded for everyone to return to their workplaces in September to help the economy, provided it is safe to do so.

Dorset Council still has more than half of its staff, up to 2,500 people, mainly working from home with chief executive, Matt Prosser, saying last week that there would not be a rush to return to offices and that many might not return to the office either full-time or part-time in the foreseeable future.

He is telling staff that making offices Covid-safe means there simply would not be enough space for everyone.

Papers from this week’s full council and next week’s cabinet meeting show that a limited number of issues which were expected to be resolved this month at meetings, have now been pushed to October.

These include how the council deals with its workplaces, the climate and ecological emergency strategy delivery plan, which is still only in draft form; asset management and a leisure services review.

Also due for discussion in October is the Weymouth Harbour and Esplanade flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy; grants to the voluntary and community sector, the youth justice plan and the children and young people and families’ plan.

The programmes also show housing issues not being up for decision until November along with a housing allocations programme and the first round of budget planning.

Many of the programmes have been badly disrupted by the lockdown with hundreds of council staff, often at a senior level as well as front-line workers, being diverted to help in the community.

Some programmes have also been thrown into doubt because of financial uncertainty with the authority expecting a shortfall of around £43 million at the end of the financial year with its reserves badly depleted – compared to the start of the financial year when it was planning on a balanced budget and a growth in reserve funds.