Officials at Watford Borough Council edited the authority’s own Wikipedia page to include praise for its performance and managing director Manny Lewis, it has emerged.

Council officials confirmed a now-deleted account named WatfordBC - which made four alterations to the council’s Wikipedia page on September 25, 2012 - was controlled by an employee of the authority.

These alterations included a 240 word statement quoting a 2007 Audit Commission report which saw the authority’s rating upgraded from ‘weak’ to ‘good’.

The statement says Mr Lewis, who is gets a total £170,000 a year pay package from the council, "has brought considerable experience to the role, particularly around the management and coordination of major development projects".

The council’s additions claim the strength of leadership provided has been recognised by the Audit Commission - however, the quote was actually made in a 2008 Audit Commission report published more than a year before Mr Lewis joined Watford Borough Council.

By editing its own Wikipedia page the council appears to have broken Wikipedia behaviour guidelines, a summary of which say: "Do not edit Wikipedia to promote your own interests, or those of other individuals or of organizations, including employers.

"Do not write about these things unless you are certain that a neutral editor would agree that your edits improve Wikipedia."

The update was subsequently deleted by another user in January, 2013 - four months after publication.

Council spokesman Mark Jeffery said: "We updated our Wikipedia page factually last September, declaring an interest under the terms of Wikipedia and the assumption of good faith.

"This update was re-edited the following day and we left it at that."

The council are not the first public body to be accused of changing entries on the user-edited encyclopaedia to burnish its image.

Conservative MP and minister without portfolio, Grant Schapps, was accused in 2012 of altering his own page to delete a section on political gaffes and to alter the O-Level results he obtained as a pupil at Watford Grammar School for Boys.

Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and now has around 365 million readers worldwide and is the seventh most visited site on the internet.

Almost all articles on Wikipedia can be edited by any user and this has led to criticism about the quality of writing and the accuracy of information.