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It became a county borough in 1888 under the Local Government Act. The present Town Hall opened on St James's Road in 1928; it stands next to council offices which were converted from the old Police Station in 1939, after the construction of a new building on nearby New Street.

Dudley presently has two parliamentary constituencies, Dudley North and Dudley South, which cover the town and its surrounding area.

The Metropolitan Borough, which includes the towns of Stourbridge and Halesowen, had a population of 312,900.

In 1836 the Dudley Poor Law Union was formed, consisting of Dudley itself, and the parishes of Sedgley, Tipton, and Rowley Regis.In 1853 the Town Commissioners were superseded by the Board of Health, before the town was eventually incorporated into a municipal borough in 1865.On 12 August 1941, four people were killed when another landmine was dropped in nearby Birch Crescent. Following local government reforms in 1966, Dudley was expanded to include the majority of the former urban districts of Brierley Hill and Sedgley, along with parts of Coseley, Amblecote and Rowley Regis; an area in the eastern section of the town was also transferred into the new borough of Warley.The declining industry in Dudley has given rise to high unemployment, resulting in the closure of many businesses in the town.The metropolitan borough, which also includes the towns of Stourbridge, Halesowen and Brierley Hill has a population of 312,925.

For many years the town (but not the castle, which was outside the boundary in Staffordshire) Despite the more recent changes in county boundaries, the town and borough still remain part of the Anglican Diocese of Worcester.The first mention of Dudley's status as a borough dates from the mid-13th century, when Roger de Somery, then Baron of Dudley, approved of the establishment of a market in nearby Wolverhampton.An inquisition after his death further established the value and importance of the borough, with mentions to the town's growing coal industry.By the early 16th century the Dudley estate, now held by the Sutton family, had become severely in debt and was first mortgaged to distant relative John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, before being sold outright in 1535.During the English Civil War Dudley served as a Royalist stronghold, with the castle besieged twice by the Parliamentarians and later partly demolished on the orders of the Government after the Royalist surrender.The development of the Merry Hill Shopping Centre between 19 also saw the loss of most of the town centre's leading name stores, which relocated to take advantage of the tax incentives offered by Merry Hill's status as an Enterprise Zone.