Many communities across the United Kingdom are developing local partnerships to reduce alcohol-related problems, and UK alcohol policy as demonstrated in Safe, Sensible, Social is based to a large extent on a perceived effectiveness of local partnerships. This article discusses the complexity of these partnerships, and the difficulties in sourcing, interpreting and validating statistical data on their impact. While cross-checking local data is difficult, comparing data across the United Kingdom is even more highly problematic. Local and national datasets vary according to the methods and motivations for recording certain statistics, and there can be little doubt that statistics are sometimes selected to support local and national political objectives. Currently it is all but impossible to validate outcome data on reduction of alcohol-related harm and disorder, but local community partnerships can be evaluated in terms of their capacity to identify problems; assess which interventions are most likely to reduce the causes of the problems; get agreement with a combination of partners; act in concert so that the likelihood of alcohol-related problems is reduced; and maximize potential to achieve local progress within a national policy context that may not be fully supportive.