OBJECTIVE: To assess the provisions made for the transfer of adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis to adult rheumatology clinics in the UK and the impact of a transitional care programme. METHODS: An audit of the documentation of the provisions made for transfer in 10 centres participating in a controlled trial of transitional care. Each centre conducted a retrospective case note audit of the recent patients transferred to adult care before and 12-24 months after the start of the trial. Demographic details, age when transition was first discussed, age at transfer, transitional issues, multidisciplinary team involvement, adolescent self advocacy, and readiness were documented. RESULTS: There were improvements at follow up in documentation of transitional issues, disease specific educational needs, adolescent readiness, and parental needs with the exception of dental care, dietary calcium, and home exercise programmes. The age at which the concept of an independent clinic visit was introduced was lower (mean (SD): 16.8 (1.06) v 15.8 (1.46) years, p = 0.01) but there were no other changes in age related transitional milestones. Significantly more participants had preparatory visits to the adult clinic, had a transition plan, and had joint injections while awake at follow up. CONCLUSIONS: The improvement in documentation suggests that involvement in the research project increased awareness of transitional issues. The difficulty of changing policy into practice was highlighted, with room for improvement, particularly at the paediatric/adult interface. The reasons for this are likely to be multiple, including resources and lack of specific training.