Borough councillors and officers work on devolved issues such as parks, leisure, older residents' services, youth services, streetscene, refuse collection, planning and aspects of business and tourism; Surrey County Council deal with transport, publicly owned infrastructure planning and maintenance, education, social services and overall waste management. The Borough owns significant heritage assets that include monuments such as Guildford Castle, as well museums, art collections and civic regalia.
Guildford has the second largest population of Surrey's eleven districts (based on census statistics, only 600 residents behind Reigate and Banstead). Approximately half of the Borough’s population live in the town of Guildford.
To the year ending 31 March 2012, £106.629m was received by Guildford Borough Council, plus £7.43m from its financing/investment arm, plus £17.571m in other taxation and non-specific grants.
A large wholly exceptional overspend resulted from Guildford acquiring from central UK government all self-financing rights over housing for £192.435m, otherwise spending amounted to £136.778m. Of this spending the largest item was non-Local Authority housing benefits and services amounting to £33.93m however accounting for £32.74m of income. The largest item producing a net cost was Environmental and Regulatory Services costing £16.643m while contributing £6.861m. Spending on this item fell by 2.63% compared to the 2010-2011 period.
Housing stock owned by Guildford Borough Council is valued, as securely tenanted at £359.316m as at 1 April 2012.