Whitley, commonly known as one of the larger suburbs of Reading, is bounded to the north and east by a ridge of high ground carrying the road to Shinfield, to the west by the valleys of the River Kennet and the Foudry Brook, and to the south by an ill-defined boundary with the suburb of Whitley Wood. The former main road to Basingstoke passes just to the west of the centre of Whitley, dividing largely residential areas to its east from a largely industrial zone to its west. The current A33 relief road to Basingstoke passes to the west of the industrial area, as does the parallel railway line. Between the relief road and Bennet Road and railway can be found the recent Green Park business park and the Madejski Stadium.
The Borough of Reading is responsible for all local government. Whitley is currently covered by parts of the Church, Katesgrove and Redlands wards, within the Reading East parliamentary constituency, and includes all of the Whitley electoral ward, within the Reading West parliamentary constituency.
Whitley ward borders Minster, Katesgrove, Church and Southcote wards, together with parts of the local government district of Wokingham Borough. As with all wards, apart from smaller Mapledurham, it elects three councillors to Reading Borough Council. Elections since 2004 are held by thirds, with elections in three years out of four. 
In the 2011, 2012 and 2014 a Labour Party candidate won each election.
- Ricky Gervais, comedian, actor, film director and producer, musician and writer.
- Midge Ure, musician, whilst a member of Slik in 1974 lived briefly on Hexham Road.
- M. L. Emmett, poet, editor, Convenor of Friendly Street Poets Inc. lives in Australia but lived as a child in Ashburton Road, Hartland Road and Brayford Road.
- "Whitley". New Landscapes. Berkshire Records Office. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "Wards". Reading Borough Council. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- "Local Election 6 May 2010". Reading Borough Council. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Local Election 5 May 2011". Reading Borough Council. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Local Election 3 May 2012". Reading Borough Council. Archived from the original on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- 2014 election results Reading Borough Council
- Media related to Whitley, Berkshire at Wikimedia Commons