Re: fundamental bad idea
Your main problem was you missed the clue in the name 'Govern*mental* IT'.
Any attempt to engage with 'Governmental *anything*' means civil servants and untold numbers of 'Managers' that are responsible for individual items in the Requirements, almost down to the level of 1 manager per sentence.
Getting answers to any question no matter how simple *always* involves someone who is *not* at the meeting.
Assigning ownership of the task to get that answer, to someone from the client team, requires negotiating skills that could sell "Ice to inuits".
This is because the number one rule of the civil service is always have questions/new requirements ready BUT own nothing at the end of any meeting.
The best you will get is a promise to pass your question on to 'the missing manager' though channels.
Weeks later and quite possibly after your *next* meeting with the client you will receive confirmation that the question has been passed to a dept you have never heard of and will be considered in due course. [The chances of this being the 'correct' dept is somewhat small but you will not find this out yet !!!]
It will become clear that the requirements you have agreed to are a 'Best Guess' by someone who never attends any meeting *ever* and might even no longer work for the civil service any more. All the people you ever talk to have ideas about what they actually now want, which of course will be possible without any change in the costs to you, or so they think, as their budget has been agreed and set in stone and change at this late date would cause *delays* that cannot *ever* be accepted by the client ..... until sometime later in the project when circumstances mean that some commitment made by the client is not now possible and "would we be able to delay the start of the most crucial work, with 3 other vital co-dependant sub-projects, by 10 weeks but still deliver on the agreed date after all the UAT has been signed off ???".
Need I go on .... the only organisations that can perform these projects are the 'usual suspects', who have friends/relations/family connections with very senior people who without fail award the contracts regardless of any track record of delivering similar projects to quality, time or to cost and always are more than happy to re-negotiate the contracts *after* missing the 1st deliverable, yet again !!!