Code of Ethics and Compliance Program
In a context in which society is increasingly concerned with the proper functioning and use of public funds and services, general service-oriented institutions such as museums are expected to make voluntary efforts on behalf of greater transparency. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has been a pioneer in these efforts, and since 2011 it has had this corporate website which contains all the relevant information on how the organization is managed and operated. In 2015, this practice earned us recognition from the Commitment and Transparency Foundation as the most transparent museum in Spain.
A further step in this direction is the drafting of a Code of Ethics and Best Practices, which gathers together the principles of action and best practices which should govern individual and collective behaviors in the Museum from a responsible, ethical vision. These actions have been determined throughout the Museum’s history, and many of them are contained in operating procedures, plans, programs, certifications, and management policies in general.
Taking the Museum’s Mission and Values as the point of departure, the Code of Ethics compiles a catalogue of behavioral standards which revolve around ethical concepts like integrity, transparency, honesty, the eliminating of physical and sensorial barriers, and non-discrimination, all based on the Museum’s aspiration to be an integrative, accessible institution that brings art to society, fostering values like respect, tolerance, and diversity. The Fundación Compromiso y Transparencia has included the Museum’s Code of Ethics and Best Practices in its 10 Most Transparent Initiatives in Spain (May 2016), particularly highlighting its policies related to the administration and management of the Collection and exhibitions.
Likewise, in line with the latest reform of the Penal Code, the Museum has also developed its Compliance Program, an internal control and vigilance system which enables it to prevent or lower the risk of crimes being committed as well as make it easier to detect them quickly.
The Compliance Program includes not only the Code of Ethics but also the Code of Conduct, which contains the general guidelines and rules that everyone involved in the management, operations, and functioning of the Museum must compulsorily follow; the Compliance Manual, which identifies potentially risky activities and outlines the internal procedures and control mechanisms in place; the Whistleblowing Protocol; and the Protocol in case of non-compliances.
Both the Code of Ethics and the Compliance Program are applicable in all three entities associated with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Foundation, which manages and operates the Museum; the Tenedora Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Bilbao, S.L., which owns the art collection; and the Inmobiliaria Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Bilbao, S.L., which owns the building.