The following policy shall apply to the operation and activities of the Harpa Concert and Conference Centre, owned by the Icelandic state (54%) and the City of Reykjavík (46%).
1. Harpa’s role
Harpa’s role is to be a venue for music and culture as well as any forms of conferences, meetings and gatherings, Icelandic and foreign.
The building’s object is furthermore to be a cultural centre for all Icelanders in the centre of Reykjavík and a destination for foreign and domestic travellers who would like to find out more about the building, the services offered therein and the architecture and art in the building.
2. Owners’ goals
The goal of the state and the City of Reykjavík as regards the construction and operation of the Harpa Concert and Conference Centre is to support Icelandic music and culture, to strengthen Iceland’s position in the field of conference facilities and tourism and to promote bustling activity in the city centre.
These goals are achieved for the most part by renting halls and areas for concert events, conferences and meetings and related activities at competitive rates, by being involved in partner projects and own projects insofar as the operation of the Centre allows, by organising other activities in the building, such as restaurant operations and retail outlets, in order to attract visitors and by being open to tourists, domestic and foreign, throughout the year.
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra is domiciled in Harpa and pays a reasonable rent for the use of the facilities. The operation of the orchestra is governed by Act No. 36/1982 on the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
The Icelandic Opera is also domiciled in Harpa and pays a reasonable rent for the use of the facilities.
3. Financial and operational goals
The operation of Harpa Concert and Conference Centre is expected to support itself so that no further public funding will be required other than that provided for in the owners’ Project Agreement (currently effective Project Agreement from 19 January 2010), having taken into account the additional contribution from the owners in connection with the preparation of this Owners’ Policy.
The economic use of the funds invested in the project in recent years must be ensured through efficient and systematic financial management so that the operation remains within the financial framework that has been established for the operation in the company’s agreements. Every effort must be made to ensure that the short-term and long-term operation remains stable and returns a margin that is acceptable when account is taken of the nature of the operation and the Project Agreement.
4. Administration and organisation
The Board of Directors and the managers of Harpa Concert and Conference Centre are under obligation to guard the interests of the Centre in all respects.
The company’s Board of Directors operates in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable to public limited companies, functions independently and is responsible for the activities and operation of the company with respect to its owners. The Board, on behalf of the owners, has independent monitoring obligations as regards the operation and activities of the company.
The company’s Board shall have an overview of the operation and exercise reasonable restraint on the company’s executive directors. The Board is responsible for ensuring that the company operates in accordance with the Owners’ Policy, rules of procedure, effective agreements and the owners’ established objectives.
The company’s Managing Director is appointed by the Board and is under obligation to provide the Board with information on his work.
The owners of Harpa Concert and Conference Centre submit issues relating to the company at formal meetings of the Owners’ Committee (shareholders’ meetings), which holds the supreme authority of the company.
The division of responsibility between the owners and the company’s Board of Directors is based on the provisions of this Owners’ Policy, the rules of procedure of the Owners’ Committee, the rules of procedure applicable to the Board and generally accepted rules on the operation of independent undertakings.
The owners shall establish rules of procedure for the work of the Owners’ Committee, including as regards the selection of members of the company’s Board of Directors. Every effort must be made to select board members with experience, contacts and insight appropriate to the operation of a concert and conference centre. Members must have a variety of education and an extensive and sound experience and knowledge of administration, operation, tourism, conferences organisation as well as music- and culture-related operations. Attention must be paid to equality issues and to ensuring that membership of the Board does not cause a conflict of interest with other employment.
6. Strategy and future vision
The company’s Board of Directors takes the initiative in preparing a strategy for the Centre and establishing goals in accordance with this Owners’ Policy. The company shall establish clear and ambitious goals for its operation to supplement the principal goals stated in the Owners’ Policy.
7. Work practices and procedures
All job openings in the company must be advertised, and management and employees must be recruited on the basis of their competency. The company must establish a reasonable but competitive remuneration policy for itself.
The company must seek to increase diversity and reduce lack of competition in its field of operation. It must endeavour to select environmentally friendly products in its purchases and to practice economy wherever possible. The company must establish clear and simple rules as regards its purchases in accordance with the policies established by the state and the City of Reykjavík.
Equality and transparency must be ensured in the sale or disposal of the company’s assets.
8. Communications and provision of information to the owners
The Board of Directors of Harpa Concert and Conference Centre shall inform the Owners’ Committee of the Board’s policies. The Owners’ Committee shall be informed of the company’s planned operation and activities on an annual basis. The company must, at least twice a year, inform contact persons from the administrative branch, nominated as responsible parties with respect to the company by the Owners, about the interim financial statements and the financial position of the company.
The company shall seek the approval of the owners for any major investments and for any major borrowings, as well as operations in a new field, the establishment of new companies and binding long-term agreements that cannot be considered a part of the normal day-to-day operations of the company.
In the event that a new investment or other financial obligations exceeds 20% of the estimated regular annual income, a risk assessment must be performed by an expert and impartial entity. The results of such assessment must be submitted to the owners.
9. Publication of information to the general public
The Owners’ Policy must be accessible to the public and the media and published on the websites of the company and the owners.
The company shall share its future vision, policy formulation and results on its website or in another public manner.
The publication of other information shall be governed by the laws and regulations applicable to public limited companies and the operation of the company.
10. Changes to the Owners’ Policy
The Owners’ Policy cannot be amended except with the approval of the owners at a formal meeting of the Owners’ Committee (shareholders’ meeting).