A focus on outcomes and a desire to improve assessment and support to carers are central to government policy, crystallized in the 2000 Carers and Disabled Children Act. This paper explores the benefits and challenges of implementing an outcomes approach to carer assessment and review, highlighted by a research and development project, undertaken in partnership with one local authority. The project developed and tested research‐based practice tools which aimed to promote carer‐centred practice, together with clarity in communication and recording of outcomes intended and achieved. Findings indicated that practice could be enhanced with the help of a clear conceptual framework and tools, flexibly and sensitively used to assist discussion and decision‐making with carers about outcomes. Information about outcomes, aggregated from individual records, was perceived as potentially useful for informing service development. Some significant obstacles and challenges also emerged; not least, the subtle but significant culture shift required, and the additional time needed to effectively identify and address outcomes with carers. A number of factors were highlighted as important in introducing such an approach: collaboration with, and between, all stakeholders; training and support for practitioners to include practice in recording outcomes, and opportunities for continuing discussion and reflection during implementation.