The metropolitan county exists in law and as a geographic frame of reference.
Between 19, the West Midlands County Council was the administrative body covering the county, this was abolished on 31 March 1986, and the constituent metropolitan boroughs effectively became unitary authorities.
A new borough of Sandwell was formed by the merger of West Bromwich and Warley.
The actual designation of Warley itself was abolished and the three towns of Smethwick, Oldbury and Rowley Regis reinstated as component parts of Sandwell, although these areas formed the Warley postal district.
Solihull took in much of the suburban fringe to the east of Birmingham, including the former villages of Chelmsley Wood and Castle Bromwich, also Birmingham Airport, and the area of countryside between Solihull and Coventry, whilst Coventry itself received only small changes and Wolverhampton was unaltered.
Other county-wide bodies include the West Midlands Police, the West Midlands Fire Service and Transport for West Midlands.
The county is sometimes described as the "West Midlands metropolitan area" or the "West Midlands conurbation", although these have different, and less clearly defined, boundaries.