Sycophantic Army Biased Reinforcements Enablers?

Are they really looking after the TA soldier or protecting the Armys flow of IRs? There must be some evidence out there of either as i'm getting fed up of Sabre stuff in my locker when all it seems to do is remind me that my employer will be happy to see me go.


War Hero

SABRE is a club for the executives to have a jolly at the expense of the MOD, a few drinks, make some contacts worktowards their knighthoods.

The cost is to make decisions which will never filter down to the line mamangers or effect the shabby treatment of employers towards reservists. Hell the MOD treats Reservists badly why should anyone else do any better?

Still there has to be something in it for someone, just not a Reservist.

One request: can they make the paper mountain out of soft paper so we can use it in the bogs when the defence/unit budget no longer runs to proper toilet paper.



I wish they'd stop bothering my company. one member of staff seems to have been pinged as "HR" (she's actually out accounts type bod) and gets no end of people from sabre ringing her up with surveys relating to employing me.

Ok Sabre, I did my bit, my employer was kind enough not to appeal, we've got the nice certificate, can you please stop pestering us?



Contact your local SaBRE rep (or whatever their job title is this week).



I do wonder Mr T whether you may not be wholly correct in your assessment. Sabre may indeed, in all liklihood be a thinly disguised veil of deceit in purporting to protect the interests of the TA soldier whereas wholly focused on facilitating the supply of IRs whilst simultaneously ensuring that any appeals (either by the employer or the soldier) are mitigated in the Army's favour.

Pity no-one noticed earlier. You will be inetrested to know that I have recently attended a very well funded Sabre event with local employers. Most of these looked somewhet bemused but enjoyed the lavish hospitality. Maybe we should have spent the money on family accommodation?
ABrighter2006 - Thanks for pointing out that thread which, as you say, explains SaBRE’s role. Our website ( also explains about us.

Mr Tracey’s point appears to be that we exist to support the Reserve Forces’ in meeting their objectives, including delivering operational capability. Well, yes, that’s quite right!

On a couple of specific points which have been raised …

- The information we gather through our research amongst employers not only informs SaBRE’s programme but feeds directly into the policymakers at the MOD, to help address the concerns of employers. We take care to vary which employers are contacted in research.

- All our mail includes the facility for employers to opt out of any future mailings if they wish to. Alternatively they can email us through our website to have details amended or be taken off future lists.

There was some comment a few months ago, relating to "TA Friendly" employers and a list being drawn up. Although a thread was contributed to, I think most posters acknowledged that it doesn't necessarily matter what the top table policy is, if middle and supervisory management are against the TA (for whatever reason).

Given the amount of surveys and contact that Sabre have with UK employers, it would be easy to assume that Sabre do indeed possess such information. Is it likely that this data will at some stage be shared with the very people who would benefit from it?


Book Reviewer
ABrighter2006 said:
There was some comment a few months ago, relating to "TA Friendly" employers and a list being drawn up. Although a thread was contributed to, I think most posters acknowledged that it doesn't necessarily matter what the top table policy is, if middle and supervisory management are against the TA (for whatever reason).

Very good point, and one which I am afraid I don't think SaBRE does - or really can - do much about. I can give you a couple of examples from personal experience; one, a Postman, was told by his Supervisor that despite PO regulations saying he was entitled to time off for Annual camp, that he could get knotted, and that he had to work. Another large orgnanisation (funnily, also a State/Public Sector Employer) displayed a similar attitude at 'manager' level to mobilisation, while at the same time their headshed were full of praise and support for the TA.

Any bright ideas and suggestions as to how to help wit this sort of attitude?
I know this appears as "Sabre bating" or similar - but that is not my intent.

Throughout my service, I sat through so many briefings, lectures and discussions relating to this very subject. Yes, Sabre's remit has to be to liaise with and understand the concerns of employers, but at the same time appears to trumpet RFA96 as the answer to all woes.

I don't necessarily have a problem with this, where it stinks to high heaven is that when employer / employee relations go wrong, it appears from my own experience (and that of a few other posters) that everyone steps back from the firing point and says "go and seek legal advice - at your own expense".

I know that a very key "selling point" of RFA96 was the "Reservist Employers" will benefit specifically as a result of employing them. This of course, is simply not the case.

Many employers (and for that matter, a number of Reservists) have been left well and truly out of pocket through our current operational involvement, is it any wonder therefore, that we see more hostility to voluntary service and that for many employees now, the opportunity to join the TA / Reserve Forces is a known barrier to promotion in their' full time careers?


War Hero
Supporting Britains Reservists and Employers. Nice title, where apart from a very narrow area does the supporting Reservists come in.

From all I have seen, experienced and read, unless an employer is stupid enough to state "We are sacking you because you are a Reservist" very clearly then SABRE can do absoloutely nothing to help a reservist.

If a reservist is passed over for promotion because of his service SABRE can do nothing unless its stated in writing, very plainly.

If a Reservist is not given a job because he is a reservist, then SABRE can do nothing.

If an employer, forces you into a position where you feel obliged to resign because of mobilisation SABRE can do nothing.

If an employer says to a reservist if you can give the odd weekend to the TA we shall make you work every weekend, SABRE can do nothing.

Pointless drinking club for employers, why petend its anything to do with supporting Reservists.

I bet they dont take that back to the MOD!



War Hero
ABrighter2006 said:
I don't necessarily have a problem with this, where it stinks to high heaven is that when employer / employee relations go wrong, it appears from my own experience (and that of a few other posters) that everyone steps back from the firing point and says "go and seek legal advice - at your own expense".

It is quite clearly laid out on the SaBRE website exactly what they are prepared to do for a reservist. In amongst the lists of things the reservist has to do for the TA and the employer in return for anticipating unforseen mobilisation at any time with all the associated drama that may cause it has the following pearls:

The SaBRE website said:
The support SaBRE provides:

General advice to employers and Reservists.

Information on everything from a Reservist's training obligations to an employer's legal rights and responsibilities, and the benefits of employing Reservists.

Contacts for employers at a regional level who can help with specific enquiries.

Examples of good practice by supportive employers.

Awareness-raising events, such as seminars and Exercise EXECUTIVE STRETCH (a weekend team-building exercise for employers).

Lobbying on behalf of Reservists and their employers.

Raising employers' awareness of Reservists' skills and qualities, and the potential benefits of giving them civilian employment.

It is not the role of the SaBRE Campaign to develop policy or manage local casework in support of individual Reservists and their employers.


Support available for you

If you experience any problems with your employer as a result of your commitments as a Reservist, it is the responsibility of your Unit, through the chain of command, to support you. For that reason, all Units in the VRF have appointed a Unit Employer Support Officer (UESO) to act on behalf of the Commanding Officer in these matters. The UESO in your Unit should be able to offer you help and advice about how to maintain a good relationship with your employer

i.e. nothing.


SABRE - a useful organisation or RFCA desperate to have something to do? The last thing I want is SABRE going anywhere near my employers. We, like many, have a UESO (unit employer support officer), a properly employed TA officer who is himself an employer - and if anyone goes near my employers, it is him. From time to time we get complaints from employers about bombardment and it is always SABRE stuff.

RFCA - wonderful organisation, but should have nothing to do with recruiting, recruit marketing, recruit marketing budgets, employers etc.


War Hero
How much of the valuable and apparently very limited defence budget do they spend on SABRE?

I suggest it might be money better spent in other areas which might really be of support to Reservists.

I posted yesterday evening half expecting to log on this morning to a barrage of "Sabre was great for me" type posts - uhmmm.

What I draw from the comments is that many here feel in a similar way. This is not just an issue for TA soldiers though and as our reliance on reservists continues into the foreseeable future, many currently serving soldiers could well find themselves mobilised from the reserve list over the coming five years. So I would welcome input and debate from those currently serving. Assuming that they all happily find employers that aren’t anti-TA, War in Iraq/Afghanistan, army is full of baby killers, etc, these issues will affect them

Cardinal's point about the cost of Sabre is interesting, and warrants some form of response.

I believe it would be useful for Sabre_helpline to respond, or pass these questions onto somebody within Sabre to answer with some clarity. This is not a "let's bugger Sabre around" mission, but every member of the TA is affected by the way Sabre work, often (or, so it would appear here) it seems that Sabre's entire focus is towards the employer.

The role of UESO that pers are referred to is IMHO fatally flawed. As I understand (and from my own experience) the UESO is more often than not the TA unit PSAO, or similarly positioned permanent staff officer. My USAO (and those on ARRSE who know me/him) will probably agree, is an absolutely top soldier - LE Officer, Ops experience, rose through the ranks, and a great example of what the British Army expects of it's men.

What he isn't, is an expert in employment law, RFA96 , the commercial business environment, or understanding the impact of TA soldiers to their civilian employers. Yes, he can state the "Reservists make better employees" mantra, but employers have heard this from year dot. Ultimately the UESO's that I have come across suffer a huge credibility gap, when speaking to employers who have very real concerns about the "dangers" of employing reservists.

The "can my employer do this?" posts that have appeared here and elsewhere over the last three years, point to what appears to be a fundamental disconnect between the MOD and it's reservist soldiers and officers.

RFA96 appears to be incredibly “woolly” and as such any half decent lawyer can drive a coach and horses through it. Sabre’s reliance on referring people to the website to read about something they are probably already aware of is not what’s needed. What is needed is the ability for Sabre to represent the TA Soldier’s interests when the going gets shitty with his or her employer. They are all too happy to do the drinks reception / shiny arrse, pressy fleshy stuff, but when it comes to backing TA soldiers to the hilt, with the weight of RFA96, it appears not to happen. I hope that I am proved wrong on this.

So, similarly to Cardinal, I too would ask how much Sabre costs the UK tax payer each year.


Book Reviewer
I am led to understand that, without revealing any major State secrets, that the cost of SaBRE is less than £5m per year. From that, we get employer Support in a pretty wide sense - and it is Employer Support, NOT Reservist Support. The 'R' bit in the title does not mean anything really - SaBRE does not appear to have any mandate to support Reservists, as it is a direct replacement for the NELC, the National Employers Liaison Committee. It is the same thing, with a fancy new acronym and logo.

They do do some useful work, sponsoring and arranging employer visits (they take them to Iraq and Afghanistan, for example) and they also pay for the nice little Certificate that you get after Demob to say 'thank you' (otherwise you'd get naff all, apart from possibly a Medal).

Also, they are not part of the RFCAs, but work directly for the MoD 'proper'.
Cheers Old_Snowy.

So, at something around the £5m figure, I suppose it would also be worth questioning how many people are on employed by Sabre fulltime - and rather than just play the MOD numbers game, possibly they could leave out the many UESO's and double-hatted PR types who are acocunted for elsewhere.

I suppose to be fair that £5m does indeed by a lot of canapies though.

Having done the tour of the website, if I was being pedantic, I'd ask as to whether the design and construction of the site was done out of the Sabre budget, because apart from correspondence with employers, I can't really see where the money goes?

Understand the point about NELC - I think if I check back through my records, I'll find the document that refers to NELC as being outdated and not representative of reservists' issues, which was a key driver behind Sabre being formed in the first place.
i must just point out that the sabre you speak of is nothing to do with my username, mine is from a drunken night many moons ago.

Ok now i will get my coat
Sabre said:
i must just point out that the sabre you speak of is nothing to do with my username, mine is from a drunken night many moons ago.

Ok now i will get my coat

Yes and I'm still looking for a new ident as well! Suggestions on a postcard.


Yeah but....SABRE has a rep at mt RFCA, and all local employer stuff comes out of that RFCA - SABRE may be a national organisation, but locally (point of delivery) it is run by RFCA - am I wrong?

The person running it from RFCA is a civil servant with no military and no employer background - frankly doubly useless.

I recommend that if your UESO is a PSAO that you change that rapidly if you can and give the job to one of your senior TA men or women, preferably one who is an employer.

At coy.sqn.bty level, the PSAO may well be the point of contact for soldiers and employers, but should immeiately hand off issues to the UESO.

As an employer of TA soldiers myself, I really understand the position of the employer. If my employee is mobilised, I don't want freebies, I don't want endless drivel in expensive brochures, I don't want contact from civil servants. I do want to know when my man is coming back to work, I do want to know how he is doing, I would like to be able to tell the others how he is getting on and I get all that from the UESO. If I want to know any more, I ask the UESO.

Are we going to get on to Executive Stretch here? That one really gets me angry!