This issue happen when using community module geofence-server, i.e. using the embedded version of GeoFence.
By default GeoFence will use an H2 database persisted in the GeoServer data directory under geofence directory.
The problem is that GeoFence will is not initiating the database anymore, i.e. hibernate will not create the necessary tables if they are not present.
So unless the user configure an external database or manually create the necessary tables GeoFence will not work.
To reproduce this error just start a master version of GeoServer with the geofence-server plugin and use a clean data directory (or delete any existing GeoFence directory inside the data directory).
Go to GeoServer UI and click on GeoFence Data Rules, you will get an exception complaining about missing SQL tables.
Note that the behavior of letting Hibernate initialize the database is configurable, it seems to me that that configuration is just not activated by default anymore.