Purpose – Seeks to draw together a number of separate but, arguably, inter-related themes which are present for those involved in “sense making” within and across public and third sector agencies or organisations. Design/methodology/approach – Uses a case study approach of one community-based network in South London to explore the ways in which action learning can facilitate self-reflection and open up the processes of partnership to a wider audience. Findings – The particular challenge for any evaluator is to identify the ways in which definitions and meanings are shared or contested by participants. These can be “heard” through the different narratives which are constructed by those engaged in the evaluation process. Originality/value – Attempts to identify what the critical questions were for those involved and provides a commentary on the experience.