This report documents the findings of a two year study looking at the impact of the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 in four local authority social services departments in northern England. The work was funded by the Department of Health under the Outcomes for Social Care initiative. We began the study in November 1997, two years after the full implementation of the Carers Act. The specific research questions the study addressed were: 1. what are the results of national policy in terms of local policy and practice in selected authorities? 2. what are the results of local policy and practice from the carer's point of view in terms of assessment under the 'Carers Act, services and outcomes? The study's findings will help establish the significance of the Carers Act for adult carers, as well as yielding recommendations and good practice points for those staff in local authorities who are responsible for implementation. At the same time, the results are of wider interest, for instance the research can make a contribution in particular to the implementation of the Carers and Disabled Children Bill (currently making its way through parliament), the National Strategy for Carers (DH, 1999a), and any future policy developments on carers' issues.